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" Ours is a never ceasing struggle of two 
iiiv AL coxfederacies." — yokn Adams. 

••We have never been one people since the 


(. ' ■ 

i/iorne. . 'r 


Davis a traitor without meeting a stern and de- 
cided DENIAL.'" — L. Q. C. Lamar. 

'*In that triumphal procession [carrying the 
LIGHT of Christian civilization] Abraham Lincoln 
shall not move as the rightful President p'-t 
Jefferson Davis, the so-called traitor, leader of 
A so-called lost cause." — Henry K. yackson. 

"The New South is simply a natural out- 
growth OF THE Old." — Southern Newspaper. 

'•The fall of Institutions leaves Human Nat- 
UKE still WHAT those Institutions HAVE made it,"— 
J^icton's Life of Cromwell. 

"The most popular remedy fer sum uv the| 
wust kinds uv disease, is tu jest sware ther ain't 
ana'THIn' the matter." — yosh Billings. 



In preparing for publication the manuscript of one 
who played so important a part in recent events, it has 
seemed best to add nothing to and take little from what was 
found written therein. It is only when the self-depreciat- 
ing modesty of the patient sufferer, who seemed anxious only 
lest he should seem to claim merit where none was due, 
appeared to have obscured with laborious self-excuse the 
relation he really sustained to the gi*eat movement which 
he directed, that it has been deemed admissible somewhat 
to abridge his narrative. 

Perhaps if the work had been written under less pain- 
ful conditions a fuller record of the events to which it re- 
fers might have been given. For the jjresent of course 
this is unnecessary. Those events are so recent as to be 
matters of common knowledge; and it is probable that his- 
tory will so illumine the succession of incidents which 
constituted the marvelous epoch of which he was the central 
figure, that the Grand Master's disquisitions will become, 
as he designed them to be, merely explanatory analysis of 
the influences which shaped his character and prepared the 
forces which he employed. While arrogating to himself no 
merit for the results attained, he did not shirk responsibility 
for error. For this reason he avoided, so far as possible^ all 


individual reference to those who hindered or promoted 
the designs he set on foot. Men he judged leniently, if at 
all; the forces behind them he analyzed with unsparing 
severity. Of those who upheld the right he counted the 
humblest as worthy as the highest, and so passed no com- 
parative judgments. Of those whom it was needful to 
designate he wrote only as the product of peculiar conditions. 
His narrative might have gained something in dramatic 
intensity if ho had realized the curiosity which the future 
will feel as to the hopes and fears Avhicli must have alter- 
nated in his breast during the eventful period Avhen the 
result hung in such even balance. This is a sentiment, 
however, which, in common with uiany great natures, he 
seemed utterly unable to appreciate. AVhat he did, or 
thought, or felt, seemed always to him a thing of indiffer- 
ence in comparison with the causes which impelled him to 
act and the influences that made possible specific results. 

In accordance with his desire, no public display was 
made at his interment. Thousands stood silent and tear- 
ful about the open grave upon the sunny hillside, and 
throughout the new nation he had created without the 
shedding of blood, a grateful people gathered in their 
several places of Avorshi]) to mourn a leader whom all loved 
and Avhom none had ever feared or distrusted. His wish 
Avas still law. No trumpet blared, no cannon roared, and 
no banner drooped above his bior. The Order he had 
founded vanished at his request. Its bright emblem. 


draped in perpetual mourning, was made by statute the 
subject of primogenital inheritance, or failing that, of 
specific appointment by the last descendant of that noble 
host who sustained him with unfaltering confidence in his 
patriotic work. 

His wish that no monument should ever be erected to 
his memory, and no municipal or charitable foundation 
bear his name, will undoubtedly be respected, but the un- 
marked grave lying in the shadow of the mountains will 
never cease to be the Mecca of those who love liberty, 
justice and peace. In his life he taught that Eight is 
stronger than the Sword, and gold fit only to be the instru- 
ment of good. In his death he has proved that humility 
wins a fame more durable than any monument. 

This much of explanation and apology seemed due from 
one who has undertaken the task of preparing for public 
perusal the story of his life as told by himself. 

E. H. 



I who write these pages am Ryal Owen, the only son of 
Godson Owen, late of Eyalmont, in the sovereign State of 
Georgia, whose faithfnl servant he was, and for whose 
rights he rendered up his life. They would have been 
dedicated to his memory, had he not, by a blameless 
life and heroic death, achieved a fame too illustrious to be 
diminished or enhanced by any act of mine. If only I 
may be adjudged worthy to have inherited his name and 
to have received the benediction of his confidence, I shall 
be content. 

The end is near. I do not know whether life will last 
until my task shall be completed. I do not call it my 
work, for that is done already. I am one of those whose 
lives have ended while they still lived. The current of life 
flows by me. I was of it yesterday. To-day I see the rush 
and swirl of its dark waters, note its eddies, guess its force, 
but do not feel its power. There only remains for me 
to let the world know why I lived — what I hoped and 
what I endeavored. What I did and how, it knows al- 



ready, or thinks it docs, and would not believe me should 
I question its knowledge. This is my task — a labor self- 
imposed, not to gain praise or avoid blame, but that I may 
not seem to claim what is due to others or allow another 
to suffer obloquy which I alone should bear. 

I shall not seek to tell the story of great events ; nor 
even of my part in them — only my estimate of tlieir causes 
and of the forces that impelled me to participate in them. 
Yet it is a task from which I shrink, both because of its 
difficulty and the fear that I shall not be able to make 
plain to others what is clear to me. My life seems to have 
been made up of so many elements, to have known so many 
influences, to have realized such unexpected results, that I 
fear to attempt to unravel its impulses. Not that I have 
done so much. In truth, as I lie here where life began, 
waiting for life to end, it seems as if I had done nothing ; 
only been a dreamer, a looker-on at great events. I per- 
ceive, too, that the little I have done has not been of my 
own will, but by another's, or by the fiat of a destiny that 
made me its creature by shaping my nature and environ- 
ment. Now that I near the infinite, I question, indeed, 
whether I have done anything, whether I have not been a 
mere instrument with which fate wrought. It matters 
not, however, whether much or little has been achieved, 
whether by my own volition or ])y the spur of destiny ; to 
whom credit is due and to whom blame attaches ; what is 
done is done — what was to be is accomplished. 



The setting sun shines now upon me through the 
narrow panes of the same window in the humble lodge 
at Ryalmont, through which it looked when it first kissed 
my baby face. Five generations of my forebears have first 
seen the light within these narrow walls ; poor, unnoted 
men — all save one whose fame was too bright to be 
clouded by disaster — and honest God-fearing women. 
In the five and forty years since that day the sun that 
shines through the cleft in t1ie mountains to the west- 
ward has seen wondrous changes on the earth — none more 
wonderful than those that have happened in the land on 
which its setting rays now fall. 

It is of these that I must write — of these and of myself. 
Yet not of these so much as of tlie forces that lay behind 
them, nor of mypelf so much as of those antecedent lives 
whose tenor shaped my destiny. I have no quarrel with 
the present, save that it has been overkind to me. That it 
has given me credit for more than is my due should not, 
however, make me willing to perjoetuate injustice. 

Gladly would I claim credit for all that has occurred, 
for I believe that the future holds only confirmation of its 
beneficence. But justice — justice to those with whom I 
wrought, to a father's memory, a mother's love, the honor 



of one dearer still and, above all, justice to a people's life — 
demands that I proclaim the truth. I sec clearly now that 
what has come to pass, apparently by my instigation, would 
have occurred had I never existed. I was not the cause but 
the instrument — not the discoverer of truth but its voice'. 
Doubtless my work would have been better done if en- 
trusted to a stronger hand. 

It is not history that I would write, only that which 
goes to make uj) history. I shall attempt no narrative of 
what has recently taken place, but only note some vestiges 
Avhich may enable other pens to trace the causes that lay 
hidden underneath the surface. My part is but to call 
attention to the unseen forces that raised up the mighty 
crests which men deemed stolen tides of fate and show them 
to be in fact only the ebb and flow of human progress. It 
is not history; only a light to guide the historian when he 
tiies to walk backward through the mists of time and learn 
the truth of the day in which I lived. What I may write 
may not even be the truth. Few speak the truth ; and 
fewer still think it in their hearts. In life and in death 
mere facts obscure our vision. What seems to us good we 
denominate right ; what pleases us we call truth. Facts I 
will relate as I saw them ; causes as I apprehend them. 

Of facts I need detail but few. In these times the 
world's busy chroniclers glean incessantly the harvest field 


of incident. What happens to-day is the world's possessioii 
to-morrow. They who follow in the track of armies know 
better than they who fight the tale of their achievements. 
Already the story of what so recently occurred has been 
told over and over again by those much better able than I 
to delineate the sequence of events. It is only what I felt 
and thought, what I alone knew of motive and purpose, 
that remains for me to declare. Fate has set her panorama 
before the world's eyes. I cannot add to or take from the 
figures on her canvas. At the best I can but throw a light 
on some of them which may show their true relations. 


The real story of great events is rarely told. The 
glamour of what is accomplished conceals the under- 
lying causes from the remote historian, while he who writes 
of matters occurring in his own time is apt to be blinded 
by partisanshi]:) or the impulse of self-defence. What we 
term history, indeed, is a record, often false, usually unjust, 
and always incomplete. To one it gives more than his 
meed of praise ; to another, a too abundant share of blame. 
It judges men, not by motive or impulse, not by the com- 
pelling force that lies behind them, but by their achieve- 
ments — the result of what they seem to have done. For 
after all it is but seeming. Men do not cause events to 
come to pass. The atoms do not move the mass ; the mass 
projects the atoms to the surface, rather. Peoples create 


leaders. Those who are called leaders are, indeed, but 
index fingers pointing toward the popular heart. It is the 
weak who make the strong ; the strong who are, in fact, 
the weak. A people's woe inspires one to attempt a 
remedy. He is termed a chief. He is a servant, a crea- 
ture, perhaps a victim. If he succeed he is extolled ; if he 
fail he is accursed. It was not Moses who made the 
Hebrews a nation, but the woes of Israel that made the 
peerless law-giver. The smart of wrong has ever been the 
seed of right ; the suffering of the many the spur that has 
impelled the few. He Avho foretells evil may be accounted 
a prophet, but he is likely to be also a martyr. He who 
informs a people of their wrongs may plant the seed of 
revolution ; but only he whom the tidal wave of approval 
SAveeps out of obscurity can ever become a deliverer. He 
who speaks the truth too sooji wins only ignominy. He 
who thriftily waits till popular clamor compels him to act 
may achieve renown. 

Individuals do not determine the character of civiliza- 
tion. They who seem to lead are but the more distinctive 
products of a common impulse. They are oftener thrust for- 
ward by forces which lie behind, unknown, almost undreamed 
of, thaa the shapers of their own or others' destiny. Peoples 
are no more free agents tlian individuals. Fate shapes its 
own instruments. 

In monarchies the man may move the nation ; the 
story of a King's reign may be the ti-ue history of a people ; 

EIG H T Y- yiNE. 29 

a scepter may shape an epoch. In what are termed free 
governments, individuals are not the controUing motive 
]iower. In them the citizen is only significant, as he re- 
presents more or less completely some phase of popular 
thought or feeling. There ambition, even, must run 
in prescribed grooves. No popular leader achieves his 
own success ; he simply rises or falls with the flow 
or ebb of the tide which bears him on its crest. The 
history of political events in a Eepublic is, therefore, hardly 
more reliable, as a veritable account of national growth, 
than the narrative of its battles and sieges. All these are 
only results — mere indications of more important truths. 
History is said to be a chronicle of events. As a fact, it is 
but a register of results — a calendar of consequences. 
What it omits is always more important than what it tells. 
What is done it records with more or less of truth. Why 
it was done the world is left to guess. Yet the cause is 
infinitely more important than the fact. Why the battle 
was lost is of vastly more moment than the fact that it was 
won ; why it was fought at all, more important than either. 
Events are transitory ; causes immortal. 

I do not know how it may be in the material world, 
but evolution is the inflexible law of mind. To-day is the 
natural product of yesterday. The dead, consciously or 


unconsciously, lay their behests upon the living. The 
past is but the matrix from which the future takes its form. 
Each life is the outcome of a myriad lives — each generation 
the resultant of a thousand generations. Where yesterday 
ends and to-day begins who shall say ? 

Nations are not born of man's will nor civilization 
shaped by human wit. Statesmen, warriors, aye, even 
patriots, are but pigmies. They do not make or fashion 
or prescribe, they only serve the will and power that is 
behind them — the myriad-eyed and myriad-handed but 
single-hearted people I The past? a pulse — a fate I What 
is it — who shall tell ? IT spake and I obeyed ! 


I was a lad at the outbreak of the War for Separation. 
My father wore his uniform for the first time on my fif- 
teenth birthday. It was unquestionably the most becom- 
ing of modern military costumes, and there were few men 
whose appearance it did not improve. He was not tall, 
but his form was slender and a model of grace. The 
soft gray habit, with its close velvet collar adorned with 
the modest marks of rank, set off his fine proportions 
better than anything I had ever seen. Or was it the 
glamour of coming conflict and the boy's innate love of 
martial glory and its gilded trappings that affected my 
vision ? 

He was to start the next day for what was not yet the 
seat of war, only of preparation. His departure had been 
hastened by unexpected orders. These things made mem- 
orable the birthday, which, without them, would no doubt 
have been forgotten. The years that had preceded it had 
not been numerous enough to bring regret, and those 
which were to come were apparently not so few as to ex- 
cite apprehension. My father's transformation could no 
more be forgotten, however, than his departure on the 
morrow. To make the occasion still more notable, the 
intended commemoration of the anniversary was abandoned 



and I was allowed to accompany my father on a farewell 
journey to Kyalmont, where we had resided until a few 
years before and where his aged mother still lived. 

We went on horseback. Going and returning made a 
good half-day's journey. My father was a grave, earnest 
man, just come to his prime. He wore a wide-brimmed, 
dark felt hat, which shaded his thoughtful countenance and 
matched well Avith a full brown beard that fell upon his 
breast, Avhich he was wont to stroke absently when ab- 
sorbed in thought. The horse he rode had been recently 
purchased with especial reference to the service on which 
he was about to enter. He was a dark chestnut of some- 
what notable characteristics — hardly above the medium 
height, somewhat too long for absolute symmetry, but 
round-bodied and compactly built, showing great ease of 
movement and giving promise of remarkable endurance. 
On account of his sloping shoulders, deep chest, heavy 
thighs and long springy hocks, he produced the impression 
of being what is known among horsemen as short-legged, 
an impression due, in his case, at least, to unusual muscular 
development. I am not sure that he was what is techni- 
cally known as "thoroughbred," but his bony head, thin 
nostril, sharp, quick-moving ear and full, fearless eye told 
of many strains of royal blood miagling in his veins. His 
faults of form were no doubt due in part to the exceptional 
nutritiveness of that marvelous blue grass of the region of 
which he was a native. The same influence had also trans- 


formed these seeming defects into positive excelleucies, 
when the character of the service required of him was 
taken into consideration, as was afterwards attested by 
many a weary march and many a bloody day which tried 
the mettle and endurance of horse and rider to the utmost. 

I suppose this horse would not have made so vivid and 
Listing an impression on my mind but for the circum- 
stances under which I observed him and the excitinpf 
events with which he was afterwards so intimately asso- 
ciated. The fact that he had been selected by my fathei" 
on account of special fitness for the service for which he 
was designed, of itself was enough to endow him with 
peculiar interest in my eyes. It was no light commenda- 
tion of a horse's qualities that my father had chosen him 
for his own use at any time. Even among our equestrian 
people he was noted, not merely for skillful horsemanship, 
but for that instinctive love and ajipreciation of the animal 
which makes a glance of the eye worth more as an estimate 
of quality than the most careful scrutiny of one not so en- 
dowed. This, too, Avas in a sense a trial trip. The rider 
was becoming ncaiainted v/ith the horse, the owner Avas 
testing his purchase, the master was verifying his judg- 
ment, and I was watching, almost worshiping, both the mas- 
ter Avith his ncAv uniform, the horse Avith his iicav trappings, 
— seen in the bright, mysterious halo of anticipated glory 
illuminating the future against which they were projected. 

In the company of such a father and such a horse is it 


any wonder that every moment of that day and every inci- 
dent of that ride were photographed indelibly upon my 
memory ? I can see them now if I but close my eyes. The 
horse with his long, easy stride, alert, attentive to the 
rider's will, with his quick changes of gait and untiring 
readiness ; the rider's watchfulness and satisfaction. But 
if liorse and rider had been altogether different I doubt if 
the awkward lad who rode beside them would have felt 
3,ny less of admiration. The lurid light of the coming 
conflict naturally magnified, if, indeed, it did not dis- 
tort all things seen against its glow. There had been so 
little of the pride and pomp of war among our people, in 
my time at least, that soldier and hero were synonymous 
in popular apprehension ; and he would have been a mean- 
spirited boy indeed to whom a father in uniform would not 
have seemed almost a god. At my earnest solicitation I 
was permitted that day to give the horse a new name in- 
stead of the insignificant one he had borne hitherto. 
Thereafter he was called "Secession." 

I may say without being thought to boast, that my 
fatlier was no ordinary man. That he should seem 
larger to me than to others is only natural, but no one will 
question, I believe, his right to be accounted a man of un- 
usual qualities. 


He had sj^rung from a rugged farmer stock. The 
plantation we were to visit was his sole ancestral inheri- 
tance. It lay among the hills half a score of miles from 
the city and nigh a thousand feet above it. He was going 
there to say farewell to his mother, an erect, stern-faced 
woman, Avhose gray hair was still abundant and whose 
dark eye and strong regular features were yet regal in their 
power to command. My father was her only son — the 
child of her widowhood, named because of posthumous 
birth, Godson — the dream of her life and the pride of her 
age. From the cabin door to the front rank of his pro- 
fession she had followed him with unceasing watchfulness. 
Able to do but little for his advancement, she had done 
very wisely what she could. Little given to flattery, she 
had not been sparing of censure whenever she saw him 
swerving from the path she had marked out for him. In 
every crisis of his life she had been ready to commend reso- 
lution and denounce hesitancy. As a boy she never allowed 
his desire to flag. As a man she never permitted his effort 
to go unrewarded by her approval. He had risen stead- 
ily since he left the hearthstone. He was not rich. His 
efforts had not been given so much to getting wealth as 
to getting strength. Student, teacher, lawj^er — that was 
the path this country boy had trod, winning each step by 
thoroughness in the one last taken. The lust for gold had 
not yet taken hold upon our life, and this lawyer, scarce- 
ly arrived at his prime, witlijiis modest plantation just out- 


side the city, a score of slaves and his well-stocked library, 
was accounted one of the most successful men in the 

* * 

Why was he leaving all this to become a soldier ? I 
remember this question came to my mind as we rode out 
from under the shade of the grove of oaks that crowned 
the little knob on which was our home. My mother, a 
fair-faced Avoman, with a wealth of golden hair falling 
over a white morning-gown, my little baby sister toddliiig 
by her side, stood on the porch waving us farewell. The 
query haunted my mind as we clattered through the city's 
streets, across the narrow valley and took the winding 
country road to Eyalmont. 

The habit of self-reliance which his mother had so 
carefully cultivated had accustomed my father to think 
for himself on all subjects. This had kept him out of 
the swirl of party politics. A man who thinks for him- 
self and does not hesitate to express his opinions may 
found a i^arty or lead one, but he is not often a ser- 
viceable subaltern in its ranks. My father had passed the 
period of subservient following, and the time had but just 
come for him to take the lead. It was only when the ques- 
tion of peace or war, or more exactly, of two republics or 
one, presented itself, that men came to understand his 


power. I remember my own surprise at the speech he 
made when the matter first came before the people. It 
was at a great mass-meeting which has become memorable 
in the history of Southern independence. There were 
many eloquent sjieakers. The others touched only the 
surface, he went to the core. It seemed to have been 
the one thought of his life. I was to leani afterward 
how deeply he had studied it, how far-reaching were his 
conclusions and how intense was his conviction. 

I must admit, hoAvever, that my father was not what is 
termed a popular man. His hold upon the masses, though 
very distinct and positive, partook very little of the char- 
acter of a personal following. It was the sincerity of 
his purpose and the earnestness of his conviction, rather 
than his personal qualities, that gave him power over men 
— his thought rather than his individuality. I have said 
that he was of a grave and serious nature . Another would 
perhaps have called him taciturn. He lived much alone, 
not that he wished to exclude others from his life, but 
because it seemed difficult for him to unbosom himself 
to them. From infancy almost I had been the com- 
panion of his daily rides and was accustomed to his ab- 
stracted moods. I knew he was fond of having me with 
him, yet he conversed but little with me. Unlike most 
lovers of the horse, he seldom used his voice to govern 
or control the beast he rode. His grip would tighten 
on the rein, his knees clasp the shoulder close, his jaw 


grow firm and his face become alert in case of any failure 
of the animal to perform his will, but no sound would escape 
his lij^s. He was not deemed a companionable man. 
Though not without a sense of humor, he was little given 
to jesting, and held no rank at all among the story-tellers 
for which our Southern bar is so justly renowned. He 
made few enemies, but those he had were as unrelenting as 
Imnself. He rarely gave olTonce and never failed to resent 
insult. As a result of these qualities he was respected by 
all, trusted by every one, and comprehended by few. 

It Avas the general im})ression that the struggle of his 
early life had done much to produce the reserve which 
characterized his maturer years. What truth there may 
have been in this hypothesis I cannot say. There is no 
doubt that under the old regime, when slavery constituted 
a peculiar aristocracy, the difficulties in the way of a young 
man of the poorer, or non-slaveholding, classes, who aspired 
to success in the professions, were very great. Perhaps that 
is the reason there were so many notable examples of that 
kind. A man who had the pith to overcome such diffi- 
culties at the outset was very sure to make his mark 
afterward. I think the South has, among her great 
names, more instances of men who have risen from the 
very lowest levels of society to the highest rank in poli- 
tics and the professions, than can be found in the ap- 
parently more democratic and unstratified society of the 
North. This fact, indeed, constitutes one of the great. 


almost insoluble differences between the sections. The 
great men of the South often founded families, but very 
few, outside of Virginia, at least, bore names that had 
been at all notable before they made them illustrious. 
Even in Virginia it remains true that her four greatest 
names began and ended with the one man Avho made each 
immortal. Washington, Jefferson, Marshall and "Stone- 
wall '•* Jackson are unquestionably the first names, even of 
the boastful "Mother of Presidents," and the most illustri- 
ous men the South has ever produced. Each sjarang from 
obscurity, and with the death of each the name he bore 
lapsed into insignificance. 

Another of the seemingly inscrutable things connected 
with our Southern life is the fact that these very men have 
been the most uncompromising advocates of that peculiar 
state of society which would seem to have placed almost 
insuperable obstacles in their path. I have heard others 
relate what my father had to meet and overcome. From 
his lips I scarcely heard a word upon the subject, but I 
know that he attributed his success mainly to the training 
he received in overcoming these difficulties. He believed 
our Southern life and society to be not only distinctive but 
eminently healthful. He recognized with peculiar clear- 
ness its defects, but thought them quite overshadowed by 
its excellencies. Boy as I was, I could not help thinking 
of these things and feeling especial pride in a father who 
by sheer force of manhood had won his way from the hum- 


blest station to be a leader of the very life that had thrown 
such obstacles in his pathway. 

But while I exulted I still wondered. 


It was a beautiful day in May. Leaving the town 
we crossed the bridge over the sparkling river and skirted 
the cornfields on the bottom at a swinging pace. For a 
time my father was engaged in watching the performance 
of his horse, now putting him at some obstacle, and then 
requiring him to change his gait upon a given signal ; 
guiding him sometimes with his hand and then with his 
knee ; dropping the reins upon his neck, bending downward 
from his saddle — in short, submitting him to all those tests 
the practiced horseman applies to anew purchase which he 
backs for the first time beyond the range of prying eyes. 
When at length we struck into the shady woods-road that 
winds up the sharp slope to Eyalmont he halted for me to 
overtake him, the last half mile having been made at a speed 
quite beyond the capacity of the mare I rode, which, though 
a thoroughbred, had seen too many days to be matched with 
such a horse in his prime. My father had tlirown a leg 
over the saddle-bow and was sitting sidewise upon his horse, 
which showed no signs of fatigue or excitement Avhen T came 
up. It was a favorite position with him and was always in- 
dicative of satisfaction. It is said that the soldiers under 
his command used afterwards to declare tliat they knew 



the battle was going well when they saw him sitting side- 
wise in his saddle. 

" He will do," said my father, grasping a handful of 
the horse's mane and giving it an approving jerk. With- 
out change in his position we rode on, walking our horses 
under the over-arching trees. As if divining what had been 
my thought, my father began to sj)eak of the new move- 
ment and his own relations to it. It seemed as if he were 
anxious to commit his thoughts to the keeping of another, 
and found in me the only convenient receptacle. Aside 
from their peculiar character, what I witnessed that day 
would have sufficed to fix his words indelibly upon my 

What especially impressed me at the time was the dif- 
ference between his ideas and the views usually attributed 
to those Avith whom he acted. He seemed to think 
slavery an accident : an opportunity rather than a cause. 
Towards the North he appeared to entertain no rancor and, 
indeed, was somewhat bitter in his allusions to those who 
fomented hate. He said it was not a conflict of passion or 
the result of oppression, but a movement of necessity. 
Civilization, he said, had generated in this country two 
distinct and contrasted yet similar and related types. 
They had long been growing assunder and now the time 
had come when they must fall apart. He said the real 
question at issue was not what the constitution meant or 
the fathers intended ; but what the future demanded. I 


had heard the constitutional question discussed so often 
that I was startled, boy as I was, to hear him declare it 
immaterial. He, no doubt, noted my look of surprise and 
explained that the time had passed when the fathers were 
entitled of right to bind the sous forever. " Our law," he 
said, " had Avisely restricted the power of bequest to two 
lives, and the course of legislation and Jurisprudence was 
toward a still further limitation of posthumous restraint. 
Private contracts were declared inviolable by the States, 
but the general government has undoubted authority to 
abrogate them in certain cases. Tlie doctrine of this im- 
mutability of the social, the political contract was of 
feudal and monarchical origin. Allegiance, the tie which 
bound the subject to the throne — which attached the indi- 
vidual to the sovereign — was considered indissoluble ex- 
cept by treaty stipulation until American democracy es- 
tablished it as a doctrine of international law that the in- 
dividual might disown the sovereignty of birth and at- 
tach himself to another in the domain of which he may 
reside, which disavowal shall remain, and new allegiance 
shall attach, for the benefit of the individual and of the 
State, thereafter, without regard to the place of domicile. 
"All these things," said he, "^'tend in one direction. 
In spite of any constitutional provision or requirement, a 
people have the right not merely to choose their own form 
of government, but to determine its quality, character, 
constituents and alliances. The one million of freemen 


who constituted the peoj)le of the South eighty years ago — 
the ancestors by three removes of the men to-day — had no 
right to bind at will the eight millions of freemen who now 
occu25y her soil and their descendants forever. 

''The war for American Independence was based upon 
a right inhering in every people to separate themselves 
from another on the ground of injustice and oppression. 
This has come to be known in international law as the 
right of revolution. It consists of two elements : the 
right to resist oppression and the right to determine what 
constitutes oppression. Our peoi)le do themselves and our 
Northern neighbors, both, great wrong to put their de- 
fence, or justification rather, on this ground. It is not 
true, my son, that we have suffered any such wrongs at the 
hands of the Northern people or the government of the 
United States as would justify revolution. It may be 
doubted if we have suffered any at all. The right to wit li- 
draw from the Union was not specifically reserved in the 
Constitution. That is certain. And it is at least doubtful 
whether it was intended and understood by any consider- 
able portion of those concerned in the consolidation of the 
independent States into a distinct nationality, to have been 
so reserved inferentially. Our cause rests upon higher, 
stronger and holier grounds. What we allege is not op- 
pression but incompatibility. We say that these two peo- 
ples can never be one. In name they may be united ; in 
nature they must continue diverse. Every hour since they 


were thought to have become more closely joined they have 
in si^irit grown essentially more remote. The 'more 
perfect union/ which our fathers thought they were creat- 
ing by the Constitution, has only given shelter to divergent 
gi"0^vths which are now much farther apart than they were 
on that day. Events which none foresaw have made the 
united nation distinctly dual. 

"Our contention, properly stated, is that eight mil- 
lions of freemen, occupying a distinct territory, have an in- 
herent right at any time to choose their own form of 
government and their own j^olitical affiliations — not be- 
cause of any constitutional provision, nor on account of 
any actual or supposed historical relation they once sus- 
tained to each other, but because they are a distinct 
people and substantially agreed upon this subject. 

*'So, too, the people of the Xorth — they call them- 
selves now the Xation, and have the right to use its name 
and organization, though the nationality is really destroyed 
by the secession of the Southern States — they have, I say, 
an indefeasible and indubitable right to prevent our leav- 
ing the Union, if they can. Our action is not rebellion 
nor is theirs subjugation. We simply assert that, in our 
opinion, the interests of the South demand a separate gov- 
ernment. They declare their conviction that the interest 
of the North, and in their view, of the whole nation, de- 
mand the continuance of the present relations. So far as 


they are concerned it is a question of policy. With us it a 
matter of right as well. 

''Both are unquestionably correct in their conclusions 
of fact. The South would be immensely benefitted by 
political autonomy. The North would, in almost like de- 
gree, be injured financially by the sejiaration. The South 
abounds in products of universal demand — cotton, to- 
bacco, lumber, ores. We have immense undeveloped re- 
sources. Our territory yields almost everything re- 
quired for human comfort and civilized existence. Of 
minerals, we have coal and iron in abundance ; gold, silver 
and copper in considerable quantities ; corn, wheat, oats, 
hay and cattle enough to supply our need and give a sur- 
plus for export; wool, sugar and rice enough for ourselves, 
with an excess of two of them when developed ; cotton 
and tobacco enough to supply one-third of the world's 
demand above our own consumption. Besides this, 
lumber and fruits ; and, in addition to it all, the finest 
water-power in the world. In our State alone the avail- 
able force of the Avater, which now runs unhindered to the 
sea, equals the entire mill-power of New England. Separ- 
ation means to us develojoment. It means self-support, 
extension and variety of industrial fabric. W^e should spin 
our own cotton, raise our own corn and wear our own 
clothes. The world's capital and energy would flow to our 
shores simply because we offered the largest opportunity. 

*'To the North it means distinct and positive loss. 


We are, under existing conditions, an ever open market 
for their wares and products. We buy their coal, their 
iron, their clothing. Aside from what is consumed at 
home, we constitute their only considerable market except 
for food products. With free and aspiring labor they can- 
not compete with the dependent and controllable labor of 
the Old World in open market. Circumstances have given 
them a market here at the South in which they can have 
no competition even from ourselves. 

'•'They will fight for this, my son, fight to retain their 
profit and advantage. They have a right to do so. They 
will have the sympathies of the world with them too. 
They not only fight for a universally accepted theory — the 
right to compel allegiance — but an incident of the struggle, 
which some of our people are foolishly seeking to make its 
chief feature, will give them a sympathy they only half de- 
serve. It will be said that they fight to free the slave and 
we fight to keep him still in bondage. In one sense it will 
be true, in another false. Slavery is an occasion rather 
than a cause of the conflict that impends. It, no doubt, 
did much to produce divergence of life and civilization, 
but its extirpation would not produce unity or homogen- 
iety. There will be war because there are two peoples. 
However it may end, there will be two peoples still. 

''Remember these things, my son," said my father, as 
we reached the crest of a hill from which the old home- 
place could be seen, "remember them as your father's 


views of the great questions which confront the present. I 
have given them my best thought and shall give to what 
I deem the right my best endeavor. I may not live to see 
the end. Upon you or your children, in all probability, 
will fall the final determination of these questions. Many 
of our people look for victory. 1 do not. Wc are eight 
millions of freemen against nineteen millions. We must 
establish a government as well as defeat an enemy. Our 
mechanical resources are undeveloped ; theirs are the com- 
pletest ever known. We have all things to create ; they 
have more than enough of everything needful. The war 
will be long because we are two great peoples. It will be 
bloody because we are brave and come of a stock of un- 
rivalled fortitude. 

''I think we shall be defeated. I cannot see how it 
can be otherwise. But that will not be the end, my son. 
The underlying principles and the essential facts will re- 
main. The South will still remain the South and the 
Xorth Avill be the North still. The South will invite cap- 
ital and show gTcat progress. It will grow stronger to 
achieve, but must still remain essentially distinct. The 
slave may be freed, but the negro will remain. The North 
cannot assimilate us, and the South has no tendency towards 
the j)eculiar Northern civilization. The two peoples will 
naturally gravitate farther and farther apart. This will 
grow stronger to assert because of its essential solidarity ; 
that will o-row weaker to resist because of its discordant 


elements. Some time the issue will have to be tried 
over again. If it should be in your day, it may help you 
to do your duty to know what was your father's convic- 

He swung himself back into the saddle, and we struck 
a quicker j)ace as he ceased sjDeakiug. A soft breeze came 
down the valley we had entered and the scent of the wild 
grape blossoms, which hung in feathery clusters over the 
shaded road, came to our nostrils. The bees filled the 
air with their droning and the birds famished that varied 
accompaniment which one Avho is busy with his thoughts 
seldom notes yet never forgets. I remember the croon of 
the rain crow, the far-away song of the thrush, the clamor 
of the mocker and the jeer of the cat-bird, as we dashed on 
beneath the leafy canopy that hung above the mountain 
road. As we drcAv near the home-place, my father seemed 
restive and uneasy. He talked of many things, but chiefly 
of his childhood — always coming back to that at last — 
and in a manner more rambling and disconnected than 
I had ever known him to display. I thought him agitated 
at the idea of parting from his mother. It occurred to me 
then that he had worn his uniform in order that she might 
remember him as he would look while with the army. It 
seemed very kind of him to do so, and I spoke of it as a 
very considerate act. My father started as if my words had 
been a sting. His lip quivered and his cheek flushed. 


"Ah, yes/' he said, with something like a sneer, ''It 
was kind — very kind." 

I was astonished. We rode forward a while in silence, 
then he said gently ; 

"No, my son, I did not wear this uniform to give 
your grandmother pleasure, but to show her that I am a 

An instant after he added still more softly : 

"I brought you also to bear witness to that fact/' 


Ryalmont had been the family seat of the Owens for 
generations. It was named from Royal Owen — pronounced 
Ryal by the country people — who located the tract and ob- 
tained a grant for it long before the parchment title was of 
any value unless backed by a stout heart and a keen eye. 
It was at first called Ryal's Mount, My father linked the 
two and christened it Ryalmont. 

It was a sightly place which the sturdy hunter chose 
for his abode. A level table shot out from the mountain 
side as if the summit of an outlying spur had been cut 
sheer off. leaving the truncated base buttressed against 
sharp cliffs on either hand, while back of it stretched a 
narrow and difficult pass — a mere notch in the mountain 
wall through which fell a babbling stream. The torrent 
turned sharp to the northward where it issued from the 
gorge, leaving the knob on which the house stood, effectu- 
ally to mask the entrance, and after a long detour, swept 
back again to its very foot upon the eastward, and worked its 
way thence through the lower hills to the river half a dozen 
miles away. By its side ran the highway along which we 
had come, winding around the hill a hundred yards from 
the house and perhaps twice as many feet below it. A 
spring burst out, half way down the hillside, aind ran through 



a drijjping wooden spouf to a trough at the roadside. Nest- 
ling under the side of the hill, by which it was hidden from 
the house above, was a snug little cabin in which dwelt 
Jack, the colored overseer and care-taker of the plantation. 
It was said that our ancestor chose this location for 
the heavy log house which he erected, not on account of its 
relation to the thousand acres of hill and valley, mountain 
and meadow, it overlooked — to which he laid claim as first 
settler and for which he paid the extravagant price of one 
shilling an acre — but because of its outhjok over the valley 
and the easy access it offered to the wooded glen in the 
rear, known afterwards as Ryal's Pass. In those days, it 
was said that every trail that crossed the valley passed some- 
where within sight of Ryal's Mount, and that any one who 
entered Ryal's Pass a half hour in advance of his pursuer, 
was safe from the most hostile following. The Pass was a 
narrow defile that wound in and out a devious but not dif- 
ficult way, until it ended in a dark and narrow glen on the 
other side of the mountain half a dozen miles away. Because 
of its tortuous character it had never been used as a high- 
way, and was still almost as wild as when Ryal Owen made 
it a place of refuge from the savage foe. A bridle path led 
into it, and once or twice my father had taken me through 
its mazes to the peaceful valley beyond. Its outlet was a 
narrow and forbidding canon almost beneath the frowning 
heights of a now celebrated peak, on the other side of 
which runs the great thoroughfare it seems especially 

EI0HTY-NIN£!. 63 

designed to guard. My namesake's judgment of the 
strategic value of the Pass has received in recent times 
marked contirmation. During the War for Separation 
the enemy, who tried in vain to force the pillared gate, came 
in with ease by this unguarded stile. Though its walls 
were precipitous at either end and the way narrow and cir- 
cuitous, the grades were easy near the summit, and there 
were some open glades where the deer loved to lie in the 
sunshine. Rut it nowhere sjiread out into valleys and had 
no branches that led to such. Because of this the trail, 
though passable, was so little used that few people knew 
of its existence. It was a favorite haunt of my boyhood, 
and Jack, who was fond of wandering in the mountains, 
knew every foot of the way. 

The plantation had changed but little from Eyal 
Owen's day until my father's time. The freedom of 
estimate that characterized the early surveys had left 
abundant room for the shrinkage caused by providing 
homes for the few female branches which had adorned the 
family tree, and the landmarks by which it was defined 
were too notable to permit the squatter to plead igno- 
rance of its limits. Perhaps my father would have left it 
very much as he found it, if accident had not joined with 
inclination to effect its transformation. Though his tastes 
were rural, he was not an agriculturist. The tillage of the 
soil for gain had no charms for him. Trees and fruits he 
loved. Flowers, especially those hardy sorts that win and 


hold their own place in nature, asking no aid from man, 
except to plant the seed or set the root, suited his taste and 
pleased his eye. For formal gardens, close-clipped hedges 
and carefully tended borders, he had little fancy. Roses 
that could fight with brambles, shrubs that held the soil 
against all comers, it mattered not how savage, and vines 
that found the sunlight, no matter how high they might 
have to climb or how dense the shadow they might have to 
penetrate — these were his favorites. Eyalmont stood on one 
of those curiously irregular isothermal lines which wind 
along our mountain sides, where the frost never kills and 
the heat never blights. Instead of cotton, therefore, he 
planted trees, and if his crops were seldom good, his fruit 
was soon the envy of the whole country. 

He married the daughter of a prosperous planter on 
the Oconee, who brought to the humble mountain home 
as part of her dowry, a few families of slaves. Two of these 
left their mark on Ryalmont, One of them was known 
as Christopher. Physically, the line that separated him 
from the white race was imperceptible even to the most 
practiced eye. He was supposed to have been very closely 
related to the thrifty planter whose daughter he served, 
and I have frequently heard my mother refer to him as 
exhibiting the characteristic traits of the family. This 
man had the inherent capacity for management which so 
often appears in the mixed bloods of the plantation. To 
him the cultivation of the earth was simi)ly a means of 


profit. The instinct of accretion was so strong in his na- 
ture that the act of heaping up, even for another's enjoy- 
ment, was a pleasure to him. As fate had denied liim 
the right to acquire for himself, he sought happiness in 
accumulating for those he served ; and served all the more 
faithfully, let me say, because he saw that they wore the 
same fetters as himself, being bound by like inexorable con- 
ditions — that the lives of both were controlled by an inevi- 
table destiny. To this man was due the improvement of 
Kyalmont as an estate. He cut off the rich, narrow bot- 
toms ; cleared the best of the hillsides ; built fences and 
cabins, transforming tlie great Avooded tract into half a score 
of little farms, each yielding enough for its occupant and 
some surplus for the master. Such a style of agriculture, 
however, was not suited to the genius of slavery, and Chris- 
topher was not content until the Grove was purchased, 
where his instinct for administration had fuller play. For 
this negro my father had a great esteem, but the favorite 
among my mother's slaves was Jack. 

The house at Ryalmont was the one blot upon its pic- 
turesque beauty. It was undeniably uncouth and alto- 
gether unfit to be the residence of the prosperous lawyer 
and his fair young bride. The trees held it in their shel- 
tering embrace ; the vines clambered over its rude porches 
and hid the great stone chimneys outside the gables ; apples 
and acorns fell upon its moss-grown shingle roof, raced with 
each other down the sharp declivity and lodged in little 

56 EIGHTY.yiyE. 

leaf-lined eddies on the hill-side below ; Taut however ro- 
mantic its environment, the house was made of logs and the 
chinking, which the ceiling hid within, still showed from 
without. It was rude, inconvenient, and none too spacious 
for the requirements of the new household. The slaves 
who came to the up-country with the bride, regarded it 
with contempt, and talked with curious pride of the glories 
of the mansion on the live-oak hummock in the midst of 
" Ole Mahster's" broad plantation. This fired the mother's 
pride and her wrath burned hot against the dark-skinned 
intruders. The young wife grieved silently, yet the fact 
soon became apparent that the house at Kyalmont must be 
remodeled, a new one built, or the household divided. . My 
father could not bring himself to tear it down ; as yet he 
shrank from leaving the ancestral hearth ; and to adjoin 
the glaring new to the somber old seemed to him an incon- 
gruity which he could by no means permit. 

The solution was found in Jack. Through his co- 
operation Eyalmont was re-formed and transformed without 
losing any of its essential characteristics. Jack was one of 
those strange freaks of slavery Avhich sometimes startled 
by a sudden revelation of its injustice those who were the 
most deeply convinced of its necessity. He was a man 
hardly above the average height, but so slenderly formed 
as to produce the impression that he was unusually tall. A 
long neck, narrow sloping shoulders, and a pinched face 
with retreating chin and overhanging brows, increased this 


illusion. His skiu was dark ; not the jetty blackness of the 
pure-blooded African, but an intense velvety brown which 
seemed to have been cast in subtle mockery as a mask for 
the purely Caucasian features and unmistakable Anglo- 
American figure. Despite his apparent delicacy of form he 
possessed great strength and peculiar dexterity of hand. 
He was something more than a Jack-of -all-trades, doing well 
whatever was needed on the plantation. Xot only was his 
hand skillful with all kinds of tools, but his eye was accurate 
and his invention ready. The fate that made him a 
slave was harsh and terrible. There was a rumor that 
he could not only read, but was better informed as to 
some of the arts he practiced, than many of the white 
craftsmen of the region. To him was due the suggestion 
that made Eyalmont, for a time at least, unique among the 
homes of the State. I had often heard the story, and it 
came to my mind with peculiar vividness that day because 
of the events that were crowding upon us. I remember 
wondering, after we came in sight of the house, what would 
be Jack's view of the matter my father had discussed ujion 
the way. 

A drawing carefully made upon a pine board lying on 
Jack's work-bench gave the first hint of a transforma- 
tion so notable that even the hand of war spared its beauty. 
The means were simple. The log house remained, only 
the roof was modernized, the pitch increased and its eaves 
made to project farther. The walls Avere covered close with 


small sticks, cut in midsummer so as to dry with the bark 
on and sawed evenly through the middle. These were ar- 
ranged in artistic forms and gave a simple finish in perfect 
harmony with the quaint interior and rustic surroundings. 
Jack had never been in Switzerland or Norway, but his 
work was inferior neither in stability jior artistic quality to 
the best that either can produce. 

So well pleased was my father with the idea, that an 
extension was built upon the plan of the original structure ; 
only, instead of hewn logs, carefully sawed timbers were 
laid edge to edge, matched accurate^ with the saw, lined 
with the choicest of pine hearts, fitted with precision, and 
finished on the outside by the same system of riven saplings. 
So the house at Ryalmont became a curious compound of 
the chalet, the cabin and the planter's spacious home, of 
which a slave was the real architect. 

Since our removal to the Grove my grandmother lived 
here alone but for a "hireling'' — a white woman, who was 
half companion and half servant. Jack's wife, Vicey, was 
the cook. I think she kept both these slaves less for her 
own convenience than for their pleasure. They were by 
no means unnecessary, however. The Owens were always 
hospitable and my grandmother was a uotable housewife. 
So Ryalmont had open doors and a well-laden board where 
rich and poor met on terms of equality rarely found except 
in "up-country" southern homes. 


The day was well advanced when we arrived at the 
old homestead. Hidden away beneath the trees, the 
house was hardly visible from the road. A narrow path, 
bordered on each side by a ribbon of white quartz pebbles, 
ran around the hillside in and out among the shrubbery 
from the rustic gate up to the worn granite slab that Ryal 
Owen made the doorstep of his house. The hill was liter- 
ally embowered with verdure. Orchard and grove com- 
mingled on the summit. Flowers and vines ran riot on 
the slope. The fertile soil and balmy climate had done 
more than man for its adornment. Nature had not only 
supplemented but in many cases suj^planted and im- 
proved on art. The ivy fought with the honeysuckle for 
foothold on wall and tree. Wisterias interlocked with 
climbing roses in a deadly grapple around many a rugged 
trunk. The grapevines that grew along the pathway were 
in bloom, freighting the air with fragrance. A lusty her- 
bemont had somehow managed to throw a tendril into an 
apple tree that stood above the spring, and from this had 
swung over into a giant oak, which shaded the eastern end 
of the house. Along this aerial bridge a huge wisteria had 
followed in swift pursuit. Its soft wavy foliage and rich 
purple blossoms formed a royal arch beneath which one 


must pass to enter the cottage. To the right of the path 
was a dark cedar out of the branches of wliich a cat-bird 
screamed with angry surprise at our intrusion, while he 
hopped from branch to branch, eyeing us with character- 
istic audacity as we niaproached. The little white May- 
apples were already ripening and lay along the path, fallen 
from a tree that stood near the top of the slope. My father 
climbed the path, apparently heedless of all these things ; I 
followed, noting them with boyish interest. The summer 
sun beat fiercely down. There was a drowsy hum, a sort 
of audible silence in the air. The bees were droning lazily 
about, and the birds flew silently by as if the effort of song 
were too much for them to undertake. 

My grandmother sat upon the porch Just within the 
line of shade made by the vines that clambered up the 
front. Her knitting had fallen to the floor, and her hands 
were clasped upon a book in her lap. She watched us as 
we approached, but without a hint of recognition. 

'• How d'ye. Ma I " said my father, as his foot touched 
the stepping stone before the door. M} grandmother 
started as from a dream. 

"Is that 3' on. Godson ? I seed ye comin' up the path, 
but couldn't make ye out, no more'n ef I'd never known 
ye. Must be my sight's a failiu'. I don't more'n half 
know ye now. What in the name of sense liev ye got on, 
anyhow ?" 

She scanned him from top to toe. 


•• No wonder I didn't know ye. Do tell a body what 
ye"ie masqneradin' 'round in sech a rig ez that fer, son ?" 

" This is my uniform, mother," my father replied, a 
hot flush rising to his brow. 

" Uniform ? What sort of a uniform, child ? You 
hain't turned play acter at your age, hev ye ?" 

" No, mother," he answered. " this is serious earnest. 
This is my uniform as a Confederate officer." 

" Your what I Oh Godson, Godson I Ye don't mean 
to say you've gone an' jined yourself body an' soul to that 
cussed idol ? You are not gwine to fight agin' the Union 
an' spill innocent blood in sech a cause ?" 

She clasped her hands tightly, and her face shone with 
woefulness as she waited for an answer. 

" I have done as my conscience dictated, mother," my 
father answered solemnly. 

He still stood upon the broad granite stone that had 
been placed before the porch by his grandfather when the 
house was built, more than a hundred years before. Per- 
haps she thought of this, as she said in tones that had lost 
the huskiness of age and sounded tense and clear : 

"Do ye remember. Godson, that yer grandfayther 
fought an' bled fer the country you're gwine ter far up ? 

"He fought for his country and people, and I must 
fight for mine," he replied. 

"An' you stand on the rock he placed thar with his 
own hands and tell me that ?" 

62 KIO H T Y- .V TNE. 

My father looked down at the well-worn slab and, rev- 
erently removing his hat, stood with bared head in the 
sunlight as he raised his eyes and said: 

" Upon this stone, as an altar hallowed by a patriot's 
hands, I devote myself to the cause which he maintained, 
and on this act I ask your blessing, mother." 

He placed one knee upon the edge of the porch and 
bowed his head towards her as he ceased speaking. 

Her faced flushed. She gazed at him with intense 
longing, and then put out her hands, trembling with ex- 
citement, as if she would thrust him away. 

"It ain't any use. Godson, tryin' to reason with ye — 
never was. I can't give ye my blessin' in this business. It 
ain't right, an' I can't do it. Ye're jest offerin' yerself fer 
destruction. Hear what the Word o' God says about it. I 
was jest readin' it afore ye come, and wishin' yer eyes would 
light on that very chapter an' verse agin it waur too late. 
Ye're jest invitin' evil an' a sentencin' yer children to shame 
an' sufferin'. Jest listen at it, now." 

She drew her glasses down from her forehead and found 
her place in the volume on her lap as she spoke. My father 
raised his head and watched her face as she read, following 
the lines with a trembling finger. I took off my hat and 
stood a hushed and wondering witness of this solemn scene. 
My grandmother read from the book of Daniel : 

" ;iS'o tlie King of the Nor-th shall come and cast up a 
mount and take the most fenced cities ; and the arms of the 


South shall not IV ithdand, neither liis chosen people, neither 
shall there he any strength to unthstand. 

" But he that cometh against him shall do according to 
his own unll, and none shall stand before him ; and he shall 
stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be 

"It's all thar. writ out in prophesy so plain that the 
wayfarin' man can read. The sword of the Lord ain't 
gwine to 'be with ye, son, an' ye can't never prevail without 
it. Ye'll jest fill the land with blood an' sorrow and cover 
yerself with shame. That's what ye'll do. Ye know it 
ain't liberty nor right ye're gwine ter fight for. It's slavery 
an' wrong. I ain't speakin' about the niggers ; though ef 
they've got any rights, God knows they've ])een robbed 
worse'n any people on earth ever was afore. I don't see 
how yon can bear to have the weight of their souls on 
your'n nohow, let alone fightin' for a chance to hold 'em. 
That's all it is when you come to sum it up. Ye're jest a 
goin' to fight fer the greatest cuss that's come upon the 
country from the beginning. It's held pore men down an' 
puffed rich men up. Ye're gwine to bring tears an' blood 
an' war on the whole lau', so that a few can git rich offen 
Avork that ain't their own, an' pore men be drug down to 
the level of the niggers. That's what ye're gwine to do. 
An' ye want me to bless ye in that ? I shan't never do it 
— never ! Ye may kneel thar till the steppin'-stone rots 


under ye, an' I shan't never give ye my blessin' while ye 
wear that uniform ! " 

She had risen as she spoke. The book had fallen open 
at her feet. Her voice had grown loud and shrill. Her 
eyes flashed, and her long grey hair, which had become 
loosened from its iron comb, fell down on the snowy ker- 
chief that encased her shoulders. 

•• I see it all," she cried, her tigure erect and her eyes 
looking into the distance as if the future lay unrolled be- 
fore them. "■ 1 see it all — woe, woe — fire aiid blood and the 
abomination of desolation I Armies crowd the road yander. 
They march through the corn fields. There is blood upon 
their faces — blood upon their hands. The thunder that 
rolls is the roar of battle. They tromple down the craps. 
They ravage and destroy. They * ' possess the goodly land. " 
Women and chill'en flee. The hearthstone is heaped with 
the ashes of the roof-tree. The light upon their faces is 
that of a burnin' city that shines over the hills beyan'. 
I see it all. Dead men lie around the spring. Beyond is 
turmoil and uproar and defeat. " The King of the North " 
has come, an' 3^ou''re a stan'in' up agin him, my son, but 
ye shall not prevail. It is written — the Lord hath spoken 
it. It is tlie doom yeVe invited yerself — the fruit of yer 
own folly I Oh, woe, woe I I see the right — I know the 
right ; yet I will pray — I must pray — for the wrong. Vain, 
vain I It don't matter who prays — it don't matter who 
fights ; the (lod that seeth the end even from the begin- 


ning, the God that is the Lord, He hath writ an' He will do I 

" I can't curse ye, for ye're my own flesh an' blood ; 
but I will curse them that made ye drunk with pride an' 
are now usin' ye to support the wrong. I'd ruther a thous- 
and times have seen ye in yer coffin than a wearin' that 
uniform. 1 can't bless ye — I can't ! Don't kneel thar 
any more — don't I Yes, stop ; I can't bless you. Godson, 
but I'll rech my hand over yet head as the prophet did of 
old an' bless yer boy — because he's yours !" 

She stretched out both her hands and laid them on my 
head before I realized her purpose. 

'' Oh, Lord God that hearest the poor as well as the 
rich, the weak as well as the strong, bless this one that will 
be left behind by him that is goin' away. May he love 
peace and shun war. Keep his fayther in the hour of 
danger, in the day of battle ; make him to know the right, 
and if in aught he fail in thy sight, may this child of his 
loins, in his day an' time, right the wrong an' cFar his 
fayther's name from stain. Amen." 

My father's voice echoed the word. Rising to his feet, 
he stood a moment looking into her face, then extending 
his hand he said : 

"Good-bye, mother." 

"No, Godson," she answered, taking his hand, "I 
can't bless yer coat nor yer cause, but the good Book says, 
Teed thine inimy,' an 1 shouldn't feel right if I let ye 
ride home without dinner. Don't ye see the lad's jest a. 


faintin with huuger — on his birthday, too ? 1 was jest a 
thiiikiu' of it afore I seed ye comin', an' a wonderin' if he'd 
think of his old granny up among the hills, to-day. Ye 
may come in — ef ye'll change yer coat," she added, with a 

" You wouldn't have your son become a turn-coat, 
would 3'ou, Ma?'' he asked, with grave humor. 

'' No," she answered quickly, "nor a Tory, nuther." 

" Oh! I'm not a Tory, Ma ; I'm just the reverse — I'm 
a Rebel." 

'' It don't make no matter what ye call yerself. God- 
son : I don't never 'low any kin of mine ter come under 
this ruf with anythin' on ther backs thet means any sort of 
opposition to the ole Union thet the Owens an' the Bal- 
fours both font fer only three ginerations gone by ! " 

She turned away with a laugh that suggested tears and 
entered the house. We sat down upon the porch, and 
presently Sally Hacket, the hireling that waited on my 
grandmother, brought my father a coat. He removed his 
uniform with a quiet smile and put it on. A moment after 
my grandmother returned and, 'oending over him, kissed 
his forehead. 

We passed a pleasant day together at Ryalmont, 
When the shock of the first surprise had Avorn away, my 
grandmother spoke quietly of what might happen during 
his al)sence. ITer language was not entirely accurate ac- 
(^ording to the rules of the schools, neither was it that 

EKillTY-y INK. 67 

labored burlesque of form and sense which some of our 
modern writers have put into the mouths of our coun- 
try people for the entertainment of the self-complacent 
North. I wandered about over the old place, but my father 
hardly left his mother's side a moment. 

As we started to go, toward evening, she called him 
back and said : 

" I can't bless you in what ye are gwine to do, God- 
son, but I will pray every day an' every hour that the Lord 
will hev ye in his keepin', though I shall never see ye 
again. Good-bye !" 

She wrung his hand and kissed him ; then sat down, 
threw her apron over her head, and wept. When we had 
passed out of sight of the house, Sally met us with the 
uniform coat, which he had forgotten. 


When we reached the hill-top. where the last sight of 
the house could be obtained, my father drew rein and 
looked back long and earnestl}' at the home of his child- 
hood. When at length he turned and rode on, he was 
silent for a long time. Then he said : 

*' My son, you have witnessed a strange sight. What 
I am I owe to my mother's iufluence. Her example has 
been the inspiration of my life. To-day,, for the first time 
in my life, I have gone counter to her wish. You heard 
her words. You saw her agony. May you never know 
what it is to cause such grief ! I expected no less, yet I 
could not do otherwise. You heard her presage of disaster. 
She is both right and wrong, in this prevision. To fore- 
cast the future, so far as human events are concerned, is 
to give a true reading of the vernier of the present, cor- 
rected by knowledge of the past. 

'' She sees with unfailing accuracy, so far as her vision 
extends. She thinks it revelation. She cannot give the 
steps by which she arrives at her conclusion. She only 
feels the facts. Sorrow, humiliation, disaster — that is all 
she sees. If my vision were bounded by the same limita- 
tions, I should feel as she does. But I see beyond, or think 
I do. God forgive me if T am wrong !" 



We rode on a little way in silence. Then he continued: 
" But I am not wrong. I cannot be wrong. I have 
been over the ground too many times. I know I am not 
prejudiced by any motive tainted with self -advantage. I 
would not engage in war to gain a kingdom or to win the 
highest place upon the roll of fame. I have a profound 
contempt for any fame that is not based upon the better- 
ment, or the attempted betterment, of mankind. 

" Your grandmother thinks I have enlisted in the 
cause of the Confederacy for the sake of slavery. She little 
knows how fully I agree with her in regard to that insti- 
tution. I wish it had never existed in America. Nay, my 
son, slaveholder as I am, I could wish it might at once be 
swept out of existence, if only the enslaved race might dis- 
appear with it. That is the real trouble. Betwixt slavery 
and liberty there is not much choice for them. Indeed, I 
am inclined to think that slavery is altogether preferable 
for them until they have gained in numbers and intelli- 
gence, so as to make liberty a secure estate for both them 
and those who must dwell with them. This is our prob- 
lem, my son. God has thrust its solution upon us and we 
must work it out. To the people of the North it seems a 
simple matter. If the slaves were free, they think there 
would be an end of slavery. It is a mistake. The prob- 
lem would then be only half stated, not by any means half 
solved. Between slavery and freedom there is but the 
twinkling of an eye. Between the slave and the freeman 


there must be geuenitions — perhaps centuries. If the necro 
could be removed to-morrow, the patriots of the South would 
far better endure the loss than see a drop of blood shed in 
defence of slavery. But this is impossible ; and unless it 
can be done, the South must hold the control of this ques- 
tion, and all questions connected with it, in her own hands. 
Xo doubt freedom must come to the slave some time. For 
the benefit of the white man it cannot come too soon. But 
when it does come, what shall be done with the negro ? 
That is the question the South must answer — the question 
she has been divinely fitted and prepared to answer.'' 

Then, after another silence : 

''Perhaps she is I'ight — your grandmother, I mean. 
I believe our attempt will fail. The war will be long and 
bloody, but the enemy Avill be victorious. The very ground 
where we stand may be stained with blood. The tide of 
battle may flow by the old homestead. And when it is all 
over, the South will be subjugated — conquered — overcome 
— but not changed I 

" My work will have been done, though. I shall not 
live to see that day — I do not wish to see it. But the seed 
will have been sown. Some other hand must reap the 
harvest — consummate the task of deliverance from our un- 
equal yokefellow. Perhaps it will even be a peaceful 
work, too. God grant it may ! There will be blood 
enough shed — brothers' blood, too — in the struggle that 
now impends. It may be that the war which comes 


will open the eyes of nil our people so that they will see the 
truth, and what arms shall fail to eli'ect, wisdom and peace 
may achieve. It may indeed be true that the wise old 
mother made no mistake when she passed me by and laid 
on your head the benison of peace." 

It was after nightfall when Secession and the doughty 
thorough-bred mare I rode jogged easily through the city's 
dimly-lighted streets. As we drew near the Grove, my 
father slackened his. rein, and, laying his hand upon my 
shoulder, said m a soft, tremulous tone : 

''My son, let what you have seen and heard to-day, 
as Hamlet says, ' ' be tenable in you r silence. " The time will 
come when you will better comprehenc> its import. At 
present, no good can come from speaking of what few would 
understand. We have to take the world as it is and make 
the best we can of it. I am going into the conflict. I 
may never return. I have a feeling that I shall not. If I 
fall, I will leave you at least a name untainted with dishonor 
and perhaps an unfinished task. You are coming very 
soon to manhood. Such times as these ripen hearts won- 
derfully fast. Your mother, sister and grandmother will 
all lean on you for support, should I fall. I wish yon to 
promise, therefore, that you will never forget this duty — 
that however long the conflict may continue, you will never 
leave them to enter the army." 

He dropped his hand to mine and held it in his strong. 


warm grasp for a moment, after I had said^ in a voice 
choked with tears, "I will." 

Then we rode on to the Grove and met a little com- 
pany who had come to celebrate my birthday. The new 
birth had come upon the anniversary of the old. The 
change the day had wrought had been so great that I 
hardly relished the simple pleasures 1 had looked forward 
to with such keen anticipation. In the morning I had 
been a boy. At night I had become a man. 


My grandmother was a Balfour ; my mother an Elspre. 
To one acquainted with the region nothing more need be 
said. The Elspres claimed Huguenot descent^ were rich, 
proud and enterprising. The Balfours, as my grandmother 
was wont to say., were "pore and proud from far back." 
Though the hearts of both were bound up in my father, 
they had little else in common. 

They represented the extremes of social forces — the 
rich, proud woman of the low-country and the "pore." 
proud woman of the hills. Their love drew them together, 
but they remained distinctive types. The rich gentle- 
woman had something close akm to dread of the stern- 
faced mother who had broken away from the traditions of 
her class and forced her son up through the intervening 
strata to the highest social level. They represented the 
two great elements of Southern life — the aristocracy, 
builded on slavery, and the non-slaveholding masses. 
Numerically considered, these elements were as one to fif- 
teen. They were united by attributes which mad6 them 
unmistakable components of a common whole, yet sepa- 
rated by impulses and characteristics so dissimilar as to 
awaken constant wonder in the mind of the observer that 
they did not fall apart. They were held together by a force 



at once attractive and repellant in its action. The pres- 
ence of another and nnassiniilable race tended to unify, 
while its enslavement tended to divide. The key to the 
mystery of Southern life lay in tlie fact that the attractive 
force was vastly more potent than the repellant one. In 
truth, the more numerous class dominated even then our 
social and jDolitical fortunes, yet the smaller one was credi- 
ted with all the power, and was accepted by the world, and 
perhaps by ourselves, as the controlling element and domi- 
nant type of our life. 

The " poor-white" of the South has always been a 
mystery to the people of the North. To them the numer- 
ically small proportion of our people w'ho were the owners 
of slaves constituted the only significant element of 
Southern life. The others were simply their down trodden 
and despised dependents, too ignorant to know how they 
were oppressed and too debased to care whether they en- 
joyed their rights or not. Looking at the matter with that 
thorough apprehension of Northern thought which the 
events of my life have given, I am not surprised that this 
view should have been taken. It was unquestionably a cu- 
rious gradation of society that resulted from the develop- 
ment of our Southern civilization. To us the term "^poor- 
white'' or "white-trash," marked only the line betw'een 
slaveholder and non-slaveholder. It was a term of obloquy, 
simply because there was an inherent antagonism between 
the two classes. Like a party name, Avhileit might be used 


to conve}' a sneer, it did not necessarily import personal 
unworthiness. In the month of the negro it became a 
taunt, and on the lips of those to whom it was applied an 
expression of morbid defiance. Softened to " poor folks,'' 
it indeed conveyed a somewhat different idea. '• Poor but 
respectable" w^as then its significance, without any of that 
degrading flavor of patronage which attaches to the phrase 
among other peoples. 

Of course, there were almost infinite gradations. The 
term covered all between the planter's mansion and the 
squatter's hovel. They differed in degree, but were all af- 
fected hj certain fundamental conditions. They were sep- 
arated I'rom the slave-holder by the fact of his mastershij), 
and from the negro by the facts of race and servitude. 

Their poverty did not imply want or discontent. They 
had what the land yielded to their own labor, and they 
worked much or little as they chose. The soil in the moun- 
tain coves was rich and quick; the climate genial. A little 
yielded enough, and they were not prodigal of toil. The 
woods were full of game, and the streams abounded in fish. A 
little '' sang" * furnished enough of luxury. The land was 
theirs, or was supposed to be. The boundaries might be 
somewhat indistinct, the corners uncertain and their title de- 
pendent on the bar of limitation. If witnessed by deed or 
grant, the customary "more or less" might be its most 
significant phrase. To them to be "pore" meant simply 

♦ Ginseng. 


to be indepeudent. Somehow the word seems to me, even 
yet, to have a different significance when given the long, 
drawling *'o," and soft liquid '• r," of the country people. 
They counted it a certificate of merit, which showed that 
they had always been self-supporting and implied that they 
were honest. They lived at home ; had enough for them- 
selves and the customary hospitality of the region, which 
does not depend on sumptuousness nor derive any of its 
flavor by comparison. The poorest shared his poverty with 
friend or stranger without thought of apology, and he 
would be a bold man who dared show any lack of appetite. 
If our rich were haughty, our poor were independent. 
The Balfours were "pore- whites.*' The nearest any 
of them had come to fame was the ancestral baker who 
signed " the solemn league and covenant" in order to in- 
crease the sale of his "Glasgow buns." The nearest ap- 
proach one of them had made to wealth was perhaps the 
doughty zealot whom Cromwell compelled to ride to battle 
with what was thought to be a stolen tankard about his 
neck. He fought so well that the questionable pewter was 
something near half-filled with pistol bullets when the 
King's forces were scattered at Naseby. Cromwell, so 
runs the family tradition, struck by this indubitable evi- 
dence of Divine approval, allowed him to wear the battered 
cup as a decoration, filled it full of silver coin in atonement 
for the false charge and made him u sergeant in his regi- 
ment of horse. 


These things may be apocryphal, but it is certain that 
Davy Balfour came to the new colony which Oglethorpe 
had founded expressly for '' the poor who were indebted to 
the rich and distressed Protestants everywhere," one of the 
most thoroughly-fitted of all its denizens to claim the im- 
munities of that Cave of Adullam, which, by a curious fate, 
has become the keystone of a nationality. No man in all 
"the Savannah country," as it was then called, gave more un- 
mistakable evidence of poverty or bore a clearer testimony 
before the session. His descendants, to use the country 
phrase, " held their own" remarkably well, so far, at least, 
as worldly gear was concerned. The Balfours were many 
and poor in the hill-country. They were also proud — 
especially proud of their poverty. 

He of th& pewter tankard, " Ole Davy," who cursed 
the great Whitefield in the presence of assembled thousands, 
for persuading the Council of Administration to admit 
slavery within the colony which had been chartered espe- 
cially as a refuge for "deserving white laborers," and " Davy 
the Second," who was the strongest man and most noted 
bully in the mountains in his day — these were the noted 
names of tlie Balfour pedigree. Truly they do not seem 
much to be proud of, yet my grandmother was very proud 
of them. Her husband was usually known as " Easy 
Owen," a corruption, she always insisted, of his name Israel, 
but more probably a bit of primitive nomenclature based 
on his character, to which might well be attributed the 


fact that he lived peacefully and happily with high-strung 
Elsie Balfour, during the few years of life he was permitted 
to enjoy after his marriage. 

With his death came my grandmother's time of trial. 
No child had been born of the marriage, and it was more 
than six months afterwards when a son came to cheer her 
loneliness. Because of these circumstances he was named 
Godson. Perhaps the lonely woman hoped that he would 
bring her also deliverance from the persecutions which had 
already begun. 

Her husband having died intestate, my grandmother 
had by law only the dower right of a widow in his estate. 
Without direct heirs, the title of Ryalmont must descend 
to tlie collateral heirs of her husband ; and these had already 
taken steps to assert their claim before the birth of my fa- 
ther. No doubt the simple-hearted x'oung widow thought 
the birth of the child would end tlie controversy. I can 
imagine her surprise and rage when she learned that instead 
of abandoning their claims, the heirs chose to contest the 
legitimacy of the child. 

No stain of this sort had ever fallen on a Balfour, and 
the whole community rallied to her side while she mustered 
her energies to repel the charge. It was a notable contest. 
The records of our Supreme Court bear testimony to its 
fierceness. When it was ended the widow's allowance was 
gone and the right of dower encumbered ; but the Bal- 
four pi'ide was vindicated and my father, in his cradle. 

was dedicated to the profession to which he was indebted 
for the name he bore. To achieve this end she accounted 
no sacrifice too great, no exertion too severe. Her life 
thenceforth became not one of actual want, but of unre- 
mitting care and constant self-denial. 

I had ahvays been a favorite with her and to me she 
was a patron saint whom it was heresy to doubt. I had 
lived with her almost as much as with my parents and was 
known among the servants as ''Miss Elsie's Boy." Yet I 
knew that she loved me chiefly because I was her son's son, 
and the veneration with which I regarded my father was in 
no small degree due to the mother-love that never wearied 
of the story of his life. From the moment that her hand 
rested on my head in that fiery benediction, which sounded 
like a curse, however, I was conscious of a change. From 
that time she always spoke of my father, not exactly as one 
dead, but as one whose life-work had ended. She seemed 
to think that the future held nothing for him that was in 
harmony with his past. He had strayed from the path her 
ambition had marked out, and her hope had passed over to 
me with her benediction. It was not a very lively hope. 
The future held little brightness to her view. She only 
prayed that I might do something — she had little care 
what it might be — to redeem the name of her son from the 
ignomy she believed would attend his course. For her son 
was still her idol — an idol to whom the sweetest memories 
were offered in unceasing worship, but before whose shrine 
the censer of hope no longer hung. 


My grandmother used sometimes to add to her allitera- 
tive self-description the term Presbyterian. Applied to her 
individually it had no especial significance. Regarding 
her as one of a class, it represents a most essential element 
of the inherent difference between the two sections of the 
great republic. The religious life of the North was built 
on Puritanic lines ; that of the South on a Presbyterian 
model. I do not speak of either as a distinct sect but as a 
religious force. Puritanism as a form of belief has abso- 
lutely disappeared from Northern life, while at the South 
the simple faith of Knox, though by far outnumbered by 
other sects, has retained its hold upon the ideal and colored 
the whole religious thought. 

Not only has Northern unbelief and irreligious specu- 
lation never been able to secure a foothold at the South, 
but the religious atmosphere is essentially distinct from 
that of the North. It is this fact, far more than any politi- 
cal divergence, which has long since separated the various 
sects into distinct bodies, known in common parlance, at 
least, as Northern and Southern Churches. This separa- 
tion has usually been attributed to Slavery, but it is far 
more a matter of sentiment than of dogma. 


The simple truth is that the religious life of each sec- 
tion is colored by its social and intellectual characteristics. 
That of the North is manifested by a restless, eager mis- 
sionary zeal, which ransacks the uttermost parts of the 
earth in search of charitable labor and proselyting oppor- 
tunity. It approves itself by its works, and is less con- 
cerned about securing salvation for the individual than in 
promoting the common good. It is little given to self-scru- 
tiny, but never rests in its watch-care over others. It is 
commercial in its character and methods. It prides itself 
on the enterprise it displays and measures its own sincerity 
not by any interior standard, but by the visible results of 
its activity. It is given to improved methods, economies 
and statistics. It estimates the value of a missionary field 
by the average cost of conversion, and prides itself upon the 
skill with which it induces even the irreligious to contribute 
to its enterprises. Its influence is centrifugal ; its field, the 
whole orb of the earth ; and its mission — to set others right. 
This was the distinctive principle of Puritanism. It was 
essentially aggressive and prescriptive. It concerned itself 
with others' thoughts, opinions and conduct. It sought to 
enforce conformity with its own ideas. It planted the seed 
of pious intermeddling and made Paul Pry its model of 
religious excellence. 

The religious ideal of the South is in striking contrast 
with this. It is the spirit of the kirk rather than of the 
conventicle. It is inti'ospective rather than circumspective; 


defensive rather than aggressive in character. Ir lividual 
salvation, rather than the evangelization of the world, is its 
prime objective. It has boundless kindness, but it is not 
given to exhaustive search for evil. It cherishes no ill-will 
for its neighbor, but leaves liim to manage his own affairs. 
If he choose the better part, well and good ; if he does not, 
the responsibility is his own. So the North sends forth an 
army of missionaries. The South with difficulty provides 
its own churches. The one is lavish of money ; the other 
of pr.iyers. There is no essential difference of dogma ; but 
the poles hardly indicate greater divergence of sentiment. 
The one is no doubt the broader in its sympathies ; the 
other the more intense in its convictions. Love of human- 
ity is the mainspring of the one ; personal salvation of the 

While, therefore, ray grandmother boasted herself a 
Presbyterian, the most distinctive feature of her religious 
faith was its essential harmony with the life about her. 
"What she disapproved she utterly abominated and con- 
temned, but she did not feel it her duty to wage war against 
it in others. Curiously enough and incomprehensible as 
it may seem, the one thing she hated most was slavery. 
Jack, who lived at Ryalmont, was practically free. He 
looked after the plantation and was assiduous in his care 
for the comfort of " the ole Missus," but what Jack did for 
her she counted only as his voluntary act. That she even 
tolerated his presence was a remarkable thing, for with the 


seeming inconsistency of her class, the object of her bit- 
terest animosity next to the institution of slavery, was 
the slave himself — the negro. This is the real key to 
what seems to superficial observers an uusoluble mystery. 
Southern life is distinctive, homogeneous and jealous of 
interference with its details, simply because the African 
dwells among us. But for this fact the line betwixt North 
and South had never been drawn, and until it no longer 
exists, that line can never be obliterated. The underlying 
distinction is that upon one side the Anglo-Saxon dwells 
alone, while on the other side a black face peers querulously 
if not threateningly into every white one. This has shaped 
our civilization hitherto, and must control our destiny 


It is needless to relate what followed. One word tells 
it all to him that knows the story, and to him who does not 
there ai'e not words enough to reveal its woe. War ! The 
culmination of horrors and climax of folly I The fire m 
which the hero is tested ! The crucible in which the dross 
of prejudice is melted away and the fine gold of truth 
gathered into shining ingots I As a fact, the most insig- 
nificant in the world's life ; as a force, the most trivial ; as 
a result, the most notable. 

Where men fought, and how and who they were that 
won, and who they were that lost, it is folly to consider. 
Why they fought, to attain what end or prevent what de- 
sign and with what result — these are the questions humanity 
asks* and history ought to answer. Beyond that, war means 
nothing. Men were brave or cowardly, true or false ; they 
survived or perished. That is all. There may be a back- 
ground of honor for the victors and of woe for the van- 
quished ; of suffering and self-sacrifice ; of personal heroism 
and collective triumph — -but these are nothing. Men live 
and die In itself life means nothing to the present and 
death means nothing to the future. Why men live and 
for tvhat they die — these are the only substantial tiuths of 


life. Grallant deeds are but the torch that shows the hero's 
soul. Like pestilence and crime, war teaches only by the 
study of its causes. Good comes from it only as it shows 
the bitterness of evil. The dead it leaves, the wounds, the 
woe, the agony — what are they but stripes by which its 
lessons are enforced ? Yet how sweet its triumphs, how 
enchanting its glories ! How bitter its woes, yet how 
beneficent its results I 

"War came. My father fought. I watched over our 
home circle. There was a year of exultation. The 
glory of anticipated triumph lighted the horizon. My 
mother's eyes shone with ex^^ectancy. My grandmother 
even began to relent. The two households had become one 
since my father's departure. We said it was for my grand- 
mother's sake ; I think it was for our own. The Grove 
was lonely after my father left us, and it seemed as if we 
were nearer him at Ryalmont. ]\Iy mother loved the 
mountain-home almost as much as my grandmother-. So 
we came here and waited. Tlie year closed, and the end 
had not come. My father wrote to me on my next birth- 
day that a great battle was expected soon, and many thought 
the war would then be over. He did not give his own 

Then came a twelvemonth of intermingled hope and 
fear. The mother would not doubt. The grandmother 
had ceased to hope. My father— but the record of his ca- 
reer is too well known to need a reference to its incidents. 


In the winter my mother and Httle sister went to him in 
the quarters where the army lay. We still lived at Ryal- 
mont. The war was all at the east or the far west. Here in 
the mountains of Georgia we were safe. As the year ended 
it came a little nearer, but we did not fear. I had grown 
to be a man and managed the plantation at the Grove, 
with the aid of Christopher, in a manner to meet my 
mother's approval. She thought me like her father, and 
often spoke of me as an Elspre. But my grandmother 
thought me a Balfour. She was aging swiftly under the 
sad burden of these last days. She looked upon me as 
the head of the house, passing by my father as if he were 
dead. On this birthday there was a great battle and my 
father did not write his usual letter for that anniversary 
until some days afterwards. He told of '"Stonewall" 
Jackson's death, and declared that the hope of our cause 
perished with him. It is a curious fact that we gained no 
more victories. The great chief could still fight battles, 
but without his great lieutenant he seemed unable to de- 
stroy armies. 

Soldiers were needed as the struggle grew more doubt- 
ful. I begged my father to give^me back my pledge and 
let me come and fight by his side — under his eye. Again 
and again I sought to be released from this first irksome 
bond which a swift-ripening manhood had cast about my 
aspiration. Again and again I implored him to grant me 
the poor privilege — nay, the glorious privilege, I deemed 


it — of defending my native land from invasion. But he 
would not yield. Of course, I could not abandon those he 
had given me in charge, even if I had been willing to break 
my word. So I sat with folded hands and waited while the 
tide of war drew near I hoped the mandate of the law 
would override my promise and compel me to perform the 
service I yearned to undertake, but the "twenty slaves" 
upon the home plantation barred the law's demand. For 
every score that wrought, it was deemed necessary that 
there should be one to direct and control, by doing which 
it was thought he served the country better than if he were 
in the field. 

My father answered my appeals with that calm wisdom 
which to youth seems always the height of folly. He told 
me that the darker the outlook, the more inevitable the 
prospect of disaster^ the more essential it was that I should 
perform the duty he had allotted to me. He reminded me 
that if I were not a soldier in fact, I had been assigned to 
a specific duty, to the performance of which life and honor 
were pledged. If I should fail in this, he must resign his 
place and return to attend to it himself. To his commands 
were added the entreaties of those left in my charge. I do 
not think it was so much the need of my assistance or pro- 
tection that inspired my mother's prayers, as the desire 
that her son might be kept from peril. Perhaps a premo- 
nition of approaching widowhood enhanced her anxiety. 
My grandmother, besides leaning upon me as she had never 


done upon my father, age tiud weakness making her more 
dependent, was anxious above all things to keep me uncon- 
taminated by service for the Confederacy. She had long 
ceased to avow her disapproval of the war, since she could 
not openly oppose it without seeming to cast discredit upon 
her son, which she would rather have died than do. But 
she had an intense desire that I should not actively engage in 
the struggle. I do not think she regarded it as so great a 
wrong, but she deemed the enterprise predestined to fail- 
ure. The prophet's use of the terms North and South had 
fixed it in her mind that it was to this conflict that his 
words referred. No argument or explanation could change 
conviction. The words came to her lips almost uncon- 
sciously whenever the subject was mentioned, and she used 
to repeat them with sad, solemn emphasis as if they were 
the knell of all her hope. 

" ' The King of the North shall come ! Shall come, 
saith the Lord, shall — come / ' " 

Then she would scan the northern sky as if slie expected 
to see the ensigns of the foe upon the mountain crests, 
always concluding with a careful scrutiny of the mouth of 
Ryal's Pass. 

" There's whar they'll come," she would say, "right 
through that gorge whar Ey'l Owen hid from the Injins, 
when they do come to 'possess the goodly land."' 

Her grey hairs and solemn, assured manner made her 
words very impressive. 


It was hard for my mother to bear up against such 
depressing influences, but she was a brave woman, despite 
her simple domesticity, and never added a feather's weight 
to another's burden by speaking of her own. By these 
influences I was kept, doing the little that was entrusted 
to me, but chafing always because it was so little while 
such great deeds were waiting for willing hands. 

Then the fourth year came. How shall I write of those 
dark days ? No tale of heroism can lighten their horror! 
A torn and bleeding country ! The tide of battle sweeping 
by our very doors ! My grandmother's sanguinary forecast 
realized I Herself a victim of war's ruthless savagery and I 
— her best-beloved, who had received the blessing that 
should have rested on the head of her son — I the unwit- 
ting instrument of her death ! No, no I Let me not say it 
— let me not think it ! If the battle's awful voice chant- 
ed her requiem let me hope that He whose words her dying 
eyes perused ordered her end in peace ! 

The agony of this terrible time comes to me through 
the intervening years with a vividness that beads my brow 
with woful drops. Have patience with my weakness, gen- 
tle reader, and let me turn away from the horrors of war 
for a little while, to consider one of its lessons. Perchance 
I may thereby gain strength to relate the ghastly facts that 
are forever photographed upon my memory. 

That year no birthday letter came. The man of 
destiny had appeared — the relentless butcher to whom noth- 


ing was of any moment save the task which fate had set him 
to.perform — and genius and valor were alike vain before his 
resistless will. From that time until the end, the roar of 
battle was too continuous to give breathing time for senti- 
ment. I was afterwards to learn how heavily the thought 
of the future rested on my father's heart in these tumultu- 
ous days. 


To the North, the unanimity with which the Southern 
people espoused the cause of the Confederacy is even yet 
an insoluble mystery. Hardly more than half a million 
of them were actual owners of slaves. Perhaps two mil- 
lions more may be said to have had an interest, near or 
remote, actual or contingent, in this sort of property. 
According to the theory of the struggle which has been 
accepted by the North, that it was solely a war for 
the perpetuation of slavery, two-thirds of our people 
engaged in a conflict in the result of which they had 
no interest, unless perhaps an adverse one. To account for 
this fact, the North have invented the curious theory that 
the common people of the South were, because of their igno- 
rance, either driven or led whithersoever the slave-holding 
element desired. There could not be a more palpable fal- 
sification of a very simple truth. The whites of the South 
were practically a unit in regard to two things: — First, the 
right of a people to elect not only their own form of gov- 
ernment but also their OM'n national affiliations, and, second, 
the necessity of perpetuating slavery as an institution. In 
this latter respect they have always been regarded by the 

92 ETO H T T- NINE. 

North as acting so inconsistently with what was termed 
their " interests " that the theory of phenomenal ignorance 
and absolute subservience has been invented to account 
for it. 

The key to the error may, perhaps, be found in the 
word '^ interest." To the North it means always dollars 
and cents. Their idea of human nature is, that it is 
controlled entirely by economic motives. Their own hos- 
tility to slavery was largely due to their antipatJiy for, and 
dread of competition with, unpaid labor. Their favorite 
theory Avas that the white man of the South would be '' bet- 
ter off " — that is, would be able to earn more money and 
improve his financial condition more easily — if slavery did 
not exist, and no little part of their attention was given to 
demonstrating this fact by comparative statistics showing 
the growth and wealth of contrasted states. 

Strange as it may seem, this was no new doctrine to 
the Southern mind. If our common peoj)le were not so 
apt in figures as their Yankee brethren, they knew all about 
slavery, and had acquired their knowledge not by theory 
but from experience. Instead of being ignorant they were, 
in this resjject, a tliousand times better informed than their 
Northern compeers. If the white majority of the South 
had no proprietary interest in the slave, each and every one 
of them liad a distinct and individual interest in the negro, 
which no argument could remove and no sophistry ob- 


The " pore- white," whether educated or ignorant, hated 
slavery. He understood perfectly well that the institution 
was his economic enemy. On the other hand, however, he 
hated the negro as a race — a class, a social force — even more. 
In one sense he recognized the injustice of slavery ; but the 
argument of the Northern abolitionist, based as it was on 
the idea of injustice to the negro, fell on deaf ears when ad- 
dressed to him. He had no "interest" in the negro indi- 
vidually or collectively, and no regard for his rights. 
Indeed, the hostility of the non-slaveholding class to 
slavery was based very largely on the fact that it protected 
and perpetuated the negro i-ace among us. 

" If there hadn't been no slavery, there wouldn't have 
been no niggers," was my grandmother's dogmatic asser- 
tion. " It's the nigger that makes all the trouble in the 
country. Ye see," she used to declare, "ever}' nigger jest 
spiles two white men — one he crowds out till he can't git 
nothing to do an' the other he puffs up till he won't do 
nothing and so ain't no 'count." 

A better statement of the evil effects of slavery on the 
white man was never formulated. The Northern doctrin- 
aires, who fulminated on the subject for half a century, saw 
but one side of this influence and that not half so clearly 
as it impressed itself on the mind of the poor-white of the 
South. He went beyond even the Abolitionist in his 
detestation of slavery, not because it was slavery nor 
because of its injustice to the slave, but because it was 


an injustice to himself. Not merely in a pecuniary form 
did he feel the sting of this great wrong, but in a sense a 
thousand times more bitter and malign. He felt that it 
had introduced, nourished and protected an alien and un- 
assimilable element into our civilization — an clement that 
ate the bread his hands should have been permitted to earn. 
Slavery had imported the African and established him 
upon our shores. Relieved of the burdens of life and 
nourished with a care that a direct interest in his physical 
Avelfare stimulated, he had increased in numbers with a 
rapidity unequalled in history. Even with the odds of 
immigration against him, he had greatly outstripped the 
whites in comparative growth in all the older states of the 
South. Separated from the whites by the impassable gulf 
of distinctive race and color, the slaves became a force 
which, allied with the power of capital invested in them, 
threatened not only the pecuniary interest of the non- 
slaveholding class, but even its liberties and its existence. 
Like all fictitious rights, slavery crept into our South- 
ern republics under the plea of subserving the public wel- 
fare. The New World offered an apparently inexhaustible 
field of labor. The very fertility which gave promise of 
rich returns enhanced the antecedent toil on which its 
prosperity was conditioned. The slaves at the outset were 
few ; the environments of our life primeval. No one 
dreamed that labor would become a drug and opportunity 
a thing so rare, that men would be compelled to beg the 


privilege of using hand or brain in self-support. They 
were brought in to fell the forest, to clear the soil and do the 
Avork there were not -white hands enough to perform. They 
were expected to be the purveyors and subservers of our 
new civilization and then to die — to disappear as so many 
peoples have before the face of our boastful modern benefi- 
cence and all-embracing charity. 

The general prosperity was to be promoted by increas- 
ing the area in cultivation and permitting the white man 
to devote his energies to more profitable and congenial oc- 
cupations. Under this specious claim slavery obtained a 
status that enabled it finally to defy the law. When it 
came to prove itself a curse rather than a blessing to the 
people, not only the plea of vested right, but a threat of 
public peril, was preferred in its behalf. The legal recog- 
nition it had with difficulty secured under the claim, not 
of right but of public advantage, was now urged as an 
indeterminable license by which investments in slaves were 
made forever sacred from impairment by public enactment. 

The sis hundred thousand slaveholders of the South 
would have been impotent enough against her seven mil- 
lions of free men but for this citadel of legal privilege and 
the five billions of dollars invested in slave property. The 
power of the institution lay in the community of interest 
which united this privileged class and enabled it to defy 
the power of government except when coupled with the 


act of restitution. The position Avas a strong one, and has 
many parallels in the history of civilization. 

''Let slavery be esttiblished," was its primal plea, 
''and the public prosperity will be enhanced. Slavery is 
not a right but a privilege to be granted for the public ad- 
vantage. " 

The privilege having been granted by specific act in 
several of the colonies and by tacit permission in others, the 
class having a specific interest thus obtained cried out at 
once : 

" This is our vested right. The public welfare has 
nothing to do with our privilege. AVe have the right to 
do as we will with our own and nothing must be done to 
impair our advantage over our fellows. Ours has become 
a class interest the value of which the public is bound to 
protect. However perilous slavery may be to the common 
weal/ we are innocent investors in a business recognized by 
law and therefore forever sacred from legal interference.^' 

This is the universal history of legal privilege. At 
first it professes to consider only the public welfare ; then 
it pleads license or prescriptive right in defiance of public 

Whenever sjsecial opportunity, excej^tional power or 
special immunity are granted to individuals or classes in 
vague or indeterminate form, they are certain to become 
bonds which can only be broken by long and eventful strug- 
gle — perhaps knots which only the sword can sunder. 


The contest betv/een the slave power and the individ- 
ual right of the non-slaveholding white man at the South 
is a curious cliapter in our history. In every state the in- 
stinct of the freeman was constantly pressing the privilege 
of the master. To the l^orthern mind the advantage 
seemed always to be on the part of the privileged class. 
The North thought only of the slave and his relations to 
freedom. Our people never once considered this. It 
was only tlie right and interest of the white man they 
had in view. Of tlie slave they only thought us an inimi- 
cal force. The only purpose of legislating in regard to him 
was to keep him from injuring others. He was one-third 
— in certain limited areas, one half — of our population, yet 
in three-quarters of a century not a single act designed 
for his betterment or advantage can be found on the statute 
book of any southern state. We legislated to limit his privi- 
leges, to restrict his intelligence, to guard against his ma-s- 
ter's weak indulgence, to bar the presum})tion of freedom 
and prevent the extinction of racial disabilities by admix- 
ture of blood ; but not one line or sentence or syllable de- 
signed to render his estate more tolerable or to facilitate his 
elevation to a higher plane of development, can be found 
in our legislation. No such thing occurred to us as de- 
sirable. The negi'o being among us, we were simjily im- 
pelled to protect the white race against his natural forces. 

Yet the power of the slaveholders, as a class, was con- 
stantly being circumscribed. Specific privilege was limit- 


ed, taxation was more rigorously imposed, the pecuniary 
qualifications of officers and electors were gradually re- 
duced, government was localized and power distributed. 
The conflict was a slow, and might have been an unending 
one, but for the events which occurred. Yet such as it 
was, it was a fight for liberty— not the "irrepressible con- 
flict" for ihQ slave's liberty, of which the Xorth prated so 
loudly, but a struggle for the fuller liberty and broader 
opportunity of the white race. 

There were three considerations that prevented the 
non-slaveholding white men of the South from combining 
for its destruction. None of these arose from any lack of 
knowledge of established facts or economic principles. 
Some of them were based on social theories, which may 
have been false, but have not yet been proved untrue. 

The first of these influences was the fact that the 
slaveholding class, although an aristocracy existing by vir- 
tue of legal privilege, was free and flexible in its character. 
No impassable barrier marked its limits. Any one might 
come within its confines who was able to own a slave. It 
was a purchasable patent of nobility which, instead of 
losing its value as the number of its possessors increased, 
became all the more valuable with each accession to their 
ranks. Because of this fact, it may be said that all the 
more active and aggressive elements of the non-slavehold- 
ing class were, in effect, prospective owners of slaves. They 
hoped either to be able to own slaves themselves or that 


their children wonld do so. It was the object of a reasona- 
ble and proper ambition, and, of course, those who possessed 
it were affected by the same feeling of self-interest that an- 
imated the actual masters. They had no motive to limit 
detrimentally the privilege they aspired to enjoy. 

In the same manner and for the same reason the self- 
supporting people of the North failed to limit and restrain 
the power of aggregated capital and combined monopolj'^, 
by which men were made millionaires a hundred times over 
by the unlawful gains they wrung from those whose inter- 
ests were subjected to their control as absolutely as the 
slave's labor was under the control of the master. Every 
enterprising man hoped some time to be a millionaire, or at 
least to see his son become one, through the use of the same 
agencies. They did not pretend that the means employed 
were right or proper ones, but they separated business from 
morals and declared that it was not a question of right and 
wrong, but a simple matter of ''^smartness." The man 
who was " smart" enough to overreach his fellows and put 
into his own pocket what should rightfully be distributed 
to others, was free to enter the ranks of the millionaire aris- 
tocracy of the North— an aristocracy more rapacious, re- 
lentless and oppressive than slavery ever was and a hundred 
times more detrimental to the interest of the masses. Six 
hundred thousand men wielded the power of slavery with 
its five billion dollars of actual investment in defiance of 
the real interest of seven or eight millions of freemen. 


But at the North the aristocracy of legal privilege, which 
had grown out of a purelj' mercenary aspiration, was much 
more alarming. Less than one hundred men — aye, less than 
ten — controlled with absolute autocratic power the four 
billions of actual investment and the four billions of abso- 
lute " water ^' which represented the great transportation 
monopoly. Of the six hundred millions of dollars these 
men amassed for themselves, nine dollars out of every ten 
Avere the fruit of robbery as flagrant as the master's ravish- 
ment of the slave's toil — robbery, not of a servile race or 
by mere oppression of the laborer, but robbery of the best 
and bravest, the most intelligent and most enterprising of 
that land of boasted intelligence and liberty, robbery of the 
jjroducer and consumer, robbery of the buyer and seller, 
of the shijjper and receiver, of the farmer of the west and 
the manufacturer of the east, of every one who burned a 
pound of coal or ate an ounce of bread — nay, even robbery 
of their own allies and associates, the stockholders and co- 
investors who hoped (and by the honor common among 
thieves were entitled) to share the profits of the privileges 
which the state had conferred upon them. 

These enormous fortunes were accumulated by the 
open, notorious and acknowledged spoliation of thirty mil- 
lions of the most intelligent and conscientious freemen the 
world has ever seen, who were induced, first, to prepare 
the instrument for their own subjugation and then to pro- 
tect and strengthen the power thus conferred, because each 


hoped, in oue way and another, by himself or his offspring, 
to take advantage of this machinery to lift himself above 
his fellows. They did not regard the privileges by which 
Gonld, Vanderbilt and their fellows were enabled to ac- 
cumnlate such enormous fortunes, as especially sacred ; but 
every one thought either that he might somehow be bene- 
fitted by the same agencies himself or that perchance he 
had among his domestic brood the tinancial magnate of the 
future, who would wield these very agencies so as to eclipse 
all past magnificence. 

It ought not to have been a hard thing for such a people 
to understand why the more intelligent and enterprising of 
the Southern non-slaveholders were not only in favor of 
slavery but willing to fight for its perpetuation. 

The possible baton in his knapsack made the French 
soldier of Napoleon's wars the most patient of hardship 
and amenable to discipline that the world has ever known. 
The possible million in some future steal made the in- 
telligent thirty millions of the north the most docile and 
subservient of slaves. Their pity for the negro proved to 
be only sympathy with his lack of opportunity. If he had 
had a chance to enslave as well as to be enslaved, they 
would probably never have been animated with such fiery 
zeal against an institution at least as beneficent m its char- 
acter and results as their own system of financial bucca- 

But if the non-slaveholder of the South was linked to 


slavery by his aspirations and inclined to battle for the privi- 
lege of owning a slave, should he desire to do so, he was 
even more distinctly arrayed against its extermination both 
by his fear and by his pride. The line between slavery 
and freedom was the boundary of race. It is true the slave 
was in some cases as white as the master, but the presump- 
tion of freedom went always with the white skin, and 
the law in such case required proof to establish the condi- 
tion of servitude. On the other side of the line all this 
was reversed. The presumption of bondage attached to the 
fact of color, and specific proof was required to establish 
freedom. To make the negro free was to abolish this dis- 
tinction. " A white man would be no better than a nigger, 
if the nigger had all a white man's rights" was the univer- 
sal and conclusive argument against the continuance of 
federal power in those states, under an administration i^ro- 
fessedly hostile to slavery. 

There was, too, a horror of race admixture which has 
always been ridiculed by the Xorth because of its seeming 
inconsistency. It was hardy deemed an immorality for 
white blood to be mingled with the servile current in the 
veins of a slave. It may be questioned if a single family 
of slave owners could be found who had not cousins of very 
close degree among their slaves. This was so frequent as 
to occasion no remark except, now and then, in a case of 
great cruelty being perpetrated upon them. The non- 
slaveholder took the same lenient view of such relations ; 


but any approach to reversing this rule and corrupting 
white blood with a servile admixture was not to be toler- 
ated — the mere suspicion produced instant and ineffaceable 
degradation. The idea of legitimizing such relations 
awakened a storm of wrath that spared neither sex nor 
race. The master might sell his own flesh and blood with- 
out remark, but if he attempted to free and educate them, 
he aAvakened at once a universal feeling of resentment. 
The people of the South have always believed that such 
legitimized race admixture would be an inevitable result of 
equal civil and political privilege. As long as there is a dis- 
tinction of privilege they feel safe ; beyond that limit they 
fear irremediable corruption of blood. 

This feeling has been termed instinct, prejudice, folly. 
It is claimed to be the fruit of slavery, yet it seems to be 
inherent in all Anglo-Saxon peoples at least. K'o negro, 
known and recognized as such, has ever held a social 
position in any part of what lately constituted the United 
States, at all on a par with the whites, or been regarded as a 
legitimate part of white society. This is just as true of 
the North as of the South. 

The same seems to be true of our English cousins. A 
left-handed marriage with an Indian woman was once 
thought a very reasonable preparation for high rank in the 
East Indian service, but no English woman has stepped 
across the line of color and afterwards held a recognized place 
in English society. It is not strange, therefore, that this 


singular race apprehension, joined with the other causes 
mentioned, should have made the South practically a unit 
in favor of secession. .Some of the mountain regions, where 
there were few slaves and the poor-white's hatred of the 
institution overcame his fear of race aggression, adhered to 
the union. As soon as the war ended, however, and this 
class beheld the result in the emancipation and enfranchise- 
ment of the negro, they became the most bitter and violent 
enemies, not only of that race, but of all who favored its 
elevation. So malignant had this feeling grown toward 
the last that I often trembled lest it should break out into 
massacre before confidence could be restored by the happy 
termination of recent events. 

It is these things which the North is too wise to credit, 
and too self-confident to understand, that made the white 
people of the South a unit on the side of the Confederacy, 
more compact and impenetrable by Northern influence and 
sentiment than any invaded people not separated by a dis- 
tinct language ever was before. It is these very influences 
which kept it " solid " through almost a generation of hard- 
ship, oppression and temptation and finally gave it an 
unparalleled triumph over the enemies who laughed at 
its sincerity, mocked at its jirotests and prated of its 


It was these influences that crowded tlie ranks of the 
Confederate army with the old and the young, the rich and 
the poor of the South, until a larger proportion of her free- 
Hmen were arrayed in her defence than any nation of modern 
times has ever sent to battle. When the limit had been 
reached and there were literally no more between the cra- 
dle and the grave to answer to her summons — when genius 
and devotion had done their utmost — the enemy began to 
prevail. The weight of overwhelming numbers then only 
pushed back the fainting legions. By the third midsummer 
after my father's departure the thunder of the enemy's guns 
broke upon us at Ryalmont. For a year the tide of battle 
had been drawing nearer and nearer. At every interven- 
ing obstacle we had looked, confidently but vainly, for it 
to be stayed. It had crept inch by inch from the banks of 
the Ohio, across the Cumberland and the Tennessee, and 
into the mountains that buttressed the heart of the Con- 

For a month our valley had been a part of the seat of 
war. The slaves, all but the women, children and old 
men, had been impressed for work on the entrenchments. 
Back of the army of white men who fought our battles was 
the army of colored men who prepared the defences of the 


Confederacy. Every crest was crowned with its line of 
works. That which sheltered our army at this time had 
been erected six months before in prescient anticipation of 
tlie very thing that finally occurred. 

I had watched the erection of these works with great 
interest, riding back and fortli through the intricacies of 
Ryal's Pass, to observe their progress. I wondered that no 
special attention was given to the protection of its outlet, 
and finally ventured to call the attention of the officer 
in charge to it. My suggestion met the fate so often 
accorded the advice of the intermeddler. It was not only 
disregarded but sneered at as the notion of a country strip- 
ling. The officer intimated that I might do to command 
"twenty niggers •' — the number required to exempt from 
conscription — but had better not try to run the army of 
Northern Georgia. I was too shame-smitten to resent the 
insult. More than once, after the enemy had crossed the 
mountain range beyond, I crept through the neglected pass 
and watched their camp-fires. It was a curious sensation, 
looking down from my perch among the laurel-crested 
crags upon the camp of the invaders. 

Among the few slaves who had been left in the valley 
was Jack. I hardly know how he had escaped impress- 
ment. He was taken once to work in the government 
gunshops, but after a few weeks returned without my re- 
quest. Upon inquiry it was learned that he seemed to have 
no capacity for such work, having destroyed more than his 


labor was worth. Knowing his skill, we were surprised at 
this, and though he was not punished he was severely re- 
buked. Upon consultation with the officer in charge I 
found him fully convinced of Jack^s willingness and thor- 
oughly satisfied of his stupidity. He evidently pitied me 
for having supposed him capable of such Avork. 

"It is something different from hanging a plantation 
gate," he said, with a patronizing smile. 

I was confident that Jack had shirked, but after this 
did not insist on his return, although with our reduced in- 
come the hire he would have received was a thing not un- 
worthy of consideration. Skilled workmen were scarce in 
the Confederacy, and having the management of our lim- 
ited resources, I felt that Jack was not acting well in re- 
fusing his help at such a crisis, on account of mere home- 
sickness. "We did not think of attributing his disinclina- 
tion to any other cause. 

The valley was full of soldiers. The sick and wounded 
who were brought from the front passed constantly 
along the road below the house. Though there were 
no troops stationed in that part of the valley there was 
a division encamped a short distance below, to guard a 
pass that led to the southward. This was the situation 
when fighting began on the other side of the moun- 
tain. Despite our alarm, I could not resist the temptation 
to go through the gap and see what I might of the engage- 
ment. Hiding my horse in a thicket, I clambered up the 


sharp side of the gleu until I reached a position where, 
screened from observation by the undergrowth, I saw the 
enemy beaten back again and again from the line of our 
works. It was dark when I returned. The news of our 
victory had preceded me. The enemy had been hurled 
back triumphantly along our entire front. AVhat exulta- 
tion filled our people's hearts I Bonfires were lighted in 
the city's streets within sound of the enemy's occasional 
guns. My mother was jubilant. My grandmother even 
was hopeful that the end had come. 

Jack asked anxiously about the result. His solicitude 
touched me, and I told him all that I had heard, assuring 
him that the Yankee army was in full retreat and would be 
heard of no more in that region. I did not once suspect 
the good fellow's sincerity. Perhaps if I had not been an 
Elspre, I should. 

The Elspres were Huguenots who had come over to 
South Carolina at the King's expense in 1679. With them 
slavery had been a patriarchal institution. It was their 
boast that an Elspre sometimes bought, but never sold, a 
slave. There had never been a runaway among their servants, 
and blows had been so rare that the influence of the family 
was accounted derogatory to good discipline in the region 
Avhere they lived. Yet they were thrifty planters and very 
proud of the efficiency of the force they worked. My 
mother had the characteristics of her people, and as my 
father really left the control of her property in her own 


hands, the Elspre rule had extended to our family, so that 
such a thing as lack of confidence in a slave was almost un- 
known with us. 

Jack had been bought by my mother's father because 
Vicey, my mother's maid, had fallen violently in love with 
him. When we removed to the Grove, Vicey had remained 
with her husband and children at Eyalmont. On our re- 
turn she had resumed her former duties. Between mistress 
and maid there was a very warm attachment, my mother 
often remarking that Vicey seemed more like a companion 
than a servant. She was very fair, of a sweet and gentle 
disposition, and beloved by us all except my grandmother, 
who always insisted that she " could not abide a nigger 
that hadn't color enough to show." As she had been my 
nurse I was greatly attached to her. Despite her gentle- 
ness she had unusual strength of character, and it was a 
standing jest in the family that one so strong and fair 
should have become infatuated with Jack, who was ac- 
counted weak and petulant as well as insignificant in ap- 
pearance. But there was no doubt of their sincere attach- 
ment for each other, and it could not be deuied that the 
ingenious fellow had surrounded her with comforts not to 
be found in any other slave cabin in that region. It was 
no wonder she was devoted to my mothei", to whose favor 
she owed so much. 

It was the second night after the battle. The full 
moon of June was looking into the window yonder, when 


there came a tap upon the casement and an anxious voice 
just raised above a whisj)er called : 

"MarseEy'l! Marse Ry'l ! " 

I sprang up and ran to the window. It was Vicey. 
She was standing under the apple-tree, which has since 
grown so that its arms reach clean across the frame. It 
only touched the side then. She was in the shadow, but 
the moonlight came through a break in the leafy screen 
and fell upon her face. I saw it was pale and full of ap- 

" The Yankees is coming, Marse Ey'l I" 

I wonder it did not occur to me as strange that she 
should make this whispered announcement to me, instead 
of going to my mother's room. If I thought of it at all, 
it was only that she feared to alarm her mistress, for the 
words brought a terrible revulsion after the exaltation of 
victory. I think my voice must have trembled as I asked: 


"Through the Pass, Marse Ry'l." 

" The Pass," at Eyalmont, meant the gap named after 
my ancestor. The mouth of it lay plain before me, the great 
jaws, black with shadow, but the smooth jDlateau on Avhich 
it opened fair and clear in the white moonlight, cut in a 
wavering line by the sharp narrow bed of the mountain 
torrent that had made its way through the debris of a 
mightier tide which once flowed through the Pass. 

I looked in vain for the blue-clad forms that had be- 


come familiar to my eyes in the valley beyond. Their ab- 
sence, however, did not incline me to doubt. I think I 
had always expected that what might so easily be done 
would be done, so that the announcement awoke no sur- 
prise. Strangely enough, I seemed just then to be oblivi- 
ous to everything except the fact that my favorite mare, 
Jessica, was tethered in a glen that led out of the Pass not 
far from the entrance. She had been hidden there for a 
long time to avoid theft or impressment for the public ser- 
vice. A somewhat aged carriage horse and a single mule 
were the only working stock we had been able to keep at 
Ryalmont. What was not impressed had been stolen, and 
the presence of the army made recovery impossible. I was 
anxious to save the mare, which was not only a favorite 
but a present from my grandfather Elspre. Only Jack 
knew where she was hidden. 

" I must save Jessica," I said, as I turned away from 
the window and began to hurry on my clothes. 

" You needn't be troubled 'bout de mar', Marse Ry'l. 
She's here wid de saddle all on." 

" Here ? Who brought her ? " 


I finished dressing and sj)rang through the window. 
Standing beside the girl I could see Jessica tied to an over- 
hanging limb a few stejjs away. Again my eyes scanned 
the opening of the Pass. 

" What makes you think they are coming, Vicey ? " I 


asked, beginning for the first time to doubt her words. I 
held my breath and listened. 

" Jack tole me so," — doggedly. 

'' How did he find out ? " 

" Don't know. Seed ^em I reckon," — carelessly. 

" Has he been across T' — through the Pass, I meant. 

" S'pose so. Anyhow he said they'd be here long 'bout 

" He hurried back to save Jessica and give the alarm, 
did he ? " 

" I reckon so, Mahster," answered Vicey, turning away 
her head. " He geared up the wagon, too." 

" That was thoughtful of hira. Jack's a good boy ;" — 
then emphatically, " Vicey !" 

" Marse Ey'l." She turned with an involuntary cour- 
tesy as she spoke. 

"Jack thought they would be here by daylight, did 

'"Long 'bout that time, sah.' 

" Two hours yet." I said to myself, glancing at the 
moon. "Vicey ? " 


"Wake my mother as soon as I am gone.** 

"Yes, sah." 

" Tell Jack to have everything ready to drive to the 


''Jack!'' — alarm and surprise in her tone. '"'But 
Marse Ey'l— " 

*' I know he don't want to leave here, but he'll have 

'' Ob co'se — ob co'se — All right, sah," hurriedly. 

" Tell Jack to take the family to the Grove with their 
clothes and valuables — nothing else. They will have an 
hour's start at least." 

I turned back into the room, buckled on a revolver, 
slung over my shoulder a carbine my father had sent me, 
and was back again in a moment. The girl still stood un- 
der the tree. 

" You understand, Vicey. Wake my mother at once, 
and be sure they get off in time — They'd better take some 
provisions, too — a ham or two and a skillet. There's no 
knowing what might happen." 

''Yes, sah, but whar you gwine, Marse Ry'l ?" 

She sprang forward and grasj^ed my arm as I leaped 
into the saddle. 

" I am going to General Johnston," I replied through 
my shut teeth. " We will see if the Yankees are going to 
get through Ryal's Pass without a fight." 

" Oh Marse Ey'l !" exclaimed the girl in terrified tones, 
as she clung to my arm, " 'Taint no use. 'Taint no use. 

" It won't do to send him," I answered ; "I am not 


sure they will even believe me. How many did he say 
there were ?" 

'' Oil, de whole army — de whole army ! " she exclaimed, 
waving her hand in tragic exaggeration. 

" Of course," I responded. '•' It would naturally be a 
movement in force. But if we can get some cannon on the 
hill here, they can never make their way out. Have Jack 
get the folks away quick, Vicey. You and the children go 
with them. There'll be a big fight right here." 

I broke away from her detaining grasp and galloped 
down the winding carriage-way to the road. 

" Oh Marse Ey'l ! Marse Ry'l ! " I heard her call, in 
evident distress at my danger, as I rode away. 

Her devotion touched me. I thought as I sped along 
the road to the General's quarters, how self-deceived or hypo- 
critical the Yankees were in pretending that these i^eople 
desired to be free. I determined to reward Vicey for her 
faithfulness. If Jack's information should save the army, 
I wondered if the country Avould not set him free. It was 
a curious unreal romance of the slave's devotion and the 
master's gratitude which my fancy wove as Jessica bore me 
swiftly along the white road in the still morning moon- 
light. The mountain rose dark and silent on my left. 
Through its gloomy recesses the foe were feeling their un- 
certain way. Off to the right stretched the undulating 
valley with its hosts of slumbering defenders. Would 
they Avake in time to thwart the enemy's design ? I 


urged the mare to her utmost speed. The trees that over- 
hung the road flew by Hke winged messengers of fate. The 
road with its coat of white, dew-laden dust muflfled her 
hoof-strokes and sped backward beneath her feet like a 
swift-flowing river. 


A rifle barrel gleamed in the moonlight. I drew rein 
so quickly that the mare fell back upon her haunches. 


Instead of going to the lieadquarters of the command- 
ing general, accident liad brought me to the tent of tlie 
impetuous leader of the left wing. A few words served 
to explain the situation. Instantly orders were issued and 
staff officers were soon galloping in every direction. A mo- 
ment afterwards, bugle calls were sounding and regiments 
mustering in the bright moonlight all over the valley. 
While I was yet wondering at the perfectness of the organi- 
zation which in an instant transforms a sleeping host into 
an alert and efficient army, a squadron of cavalry dashed 
by on its way to the point of danger, followed a moment 
after by a battery of artillery, which galloped off in the 
same direction. Then came the hasty tramp of infantry, 
and a regiment of Hood's veterans filed past. The alarm 
had extended over the whole valley, and the men, with the 
quick instinct of the Southern soldier forecasting the cause 
of it, talked as they went past of the enemy coming through 
an unguarded pass on the left. 

I desired to return at once, but in the excitement I had 
been forgotten, and the officer in whose charge I was placed 
did not feel at liberty to allow me to go. It was half an 
hour before I received permission. Then the road was 
crowded with troops of all arms hurrying towards the mouth 


of Eyal's Pass. Already firing was heard in the direction of 
the glen. The information I had given had proved reliable, 
and redoubled efforts were made to push on the struggling 
column to meet the threatened attack. Being well acquaint- 
ed with the region, I pressed forward through by-paths and 
country- ways, anxious for the fate of Ryalmont. 

As I drew near the tumult grew fiercer. The rattle of 
musketry came closer and closer, and finally seemed to be 
thrown out into the open plain. The tale H told was not 
difficult to interpret. The foremost of our forces, advanc- 
ing into the glen, had encountered the head of the Federal 
column, and after a short skirmish had been pushed back- 
ward by sheer force of numbers, into the half- wooded re- 
gion at the mouth. When I came in sight of the Pass 
the day was breaking, and blue-coated hosts were debouch- 
ing, regiment after regiment, from the mouth of the glen. 
Our forces were closing in upon them, rapidly j)ressing the 
skirmishers back upon the main line, which was already 
throwing up works to protect the entrance to the valley they 
had so successfully secured. 

As I came upon the crest of a hill just across the val- 
ley from Ryalmont, I could see a battery getting into position 
on the plateau above the house, and caught the gleam of the 
bayonets of its infantry support in the shrubbery that lined 
the slope below. As I crossed the intervening space the 
roar of artillery joined the clatter of musketry, I could 
hear the shells exploding in the mouth of the Pass, and felt 


that they were inflicting serious damage on the crowded 
columns of the enemy. Then the sound of firing in the 
valley grew louder, and I knew that the enemy's infantry 
were charging across the bottom to rid themselves of this 
annoyance by capturing the plateau of Ryalmont. As I 
dashed across the road and up the sharp slope to the house, 
our weak line was driven backward, and the &\\q,v]} pijig of 
minie balls was heard as they struck the rocky hillside or cut 
the twigs overhead. A glance assured me that the house was 
deserted, and, tethering my horse in its shelter, I sprang 
down the slope to the line that was re-forming under the 
cover of our guns, and, with the carbine I carried, joined 
in the fray. The fire of our infantry and artillery com- 
bined had been too much for the enemy, who had ceased 
their pursuit, though they still held the line of the creek in 
our front. They were screened in this position from the 
fire of our guns by the sharp second banks of the rivulet 
which made a natural breast-high parapet before them and, 
hidden from the infantry by the fringe of willows that grew 
along the banks, while they could not advance, they re- 
pulsed without difficulty a counter charge which was made 
at once, and our men were driven back to the shelter of the 
crest of Ryalmont. Our artillery commanded the point of 
debouchment, but a sharp turn in the Pass deprived it of 
any effective range within. The rising sun threw our gun- 
ners into sharp relief, but made the shadow about the 
mouth of the Pass even darker by comparison. The fire 


of our guns was directed towards the enemy in the valley 
and those who were throwing up works on the opposite 
crest. For some time no troops had issued from the Pass, 
and it seemed to me we might be able to overpower the 
force which had already made its way through, before others 
could come to their aid. I mentioned this to a veteran 
officer of the line who sat beside me under the shelter of the 
shrubbery of Kyalmont. 

"Can't be done," said he with the utmost noncha- 
lance. " If we had men enough and guns enough we might 
hold them back, but we can't afford it. That Pass is like 
a gateway in a wall too high to climb — one man can hold 
it shut, against a dozen trying to force it open. I expect 
they are massing a little way back in the Pass now, ready 
to come out M^hen they're wanted. All we can do is to keep 
them blocked up there long enough to let our army get 
away, and we may not be able to do even that. The trou- 
ble with the Yankees is that there are too many of them. 
Look there, noAv ! " 

As he spoke, there came a flash, another and another, 
from the black mouth of the Pass, and then an angry, con- 
tinuous roar. The enemy had placed their guns in battery 
under cover of the shadow, until they outnumbered ours 
upon the crest, two to one. 

" We may as well get back from here," said the officer, 
rising and giving the word to his command. " They will 
rake this hill as clean as if they used a fine-tooth comb, as 


soon as they've done with the artillery, which won't be long 
at this rate." 

Some of our guns were evidently disabled, as our fire 
was already slackening visibly. 

" Know whose house that is ? " said the officer, glancing 
admiringly at the quaint structure as we passed it on our 
way back. 

" Indeed ! " he said, with a polite shrug in response to 
mv reply, '' Fm sorry for it. Your horse, up there ? " 

I nodded. 

" Better get it away while you can.'' 


" Wliy ? Good God ! man, what do you suppose will 
be left of that house when the Yankees stop firing ? " 

'a don't know." 

'' Don't know '^ Well I'll tell you — two chimneys." 

" Why should they destroy it ?" 

''Oh/' said he, gaily, "its a way they have. Don't 
you know you can trace the path of that army clean to the 
Ohio by the chimneys that are left without any houses to 
hold them up ? They make a good mark, you see, and the 
Yankees are famous gunners. There's no denying that, 
and I 'spose it's fun to knock a house to pieces a mile away. 
Besides that, if left standing, it might give shelter to — rats 
or rebs, and the Yankees are down on both. Here's the 
artillery," he added as a smoking gun, with a half disabled 
team and gunners covered with sweat and dust and some 


of them splashed with blood, came dashing down the drive. 
" What did I tell you ? They don't mean to leave you even 
the chimneys." 

As he spoke a shell struck the top of one of the chim- 
neys, and an instant after one came crashing through the 
oak Avhich stood at the gable. Then there was a sharp ex- 
plosion, the rattle of glass, a neigh of agony from the strick- 
en mare and a long shrill shriek. 

My heart stood still with horror. Could it be that the 
family had remained despite my warning ? Where was 
Jack, and the wagon ? I remembered seeing it standing 
by the roadside as I galloped away. The officer would have 
detained me, but I broke from his grasp and sprang up the 
path to the house. The mare hobbled towards me holding 
up a shattered fore leg with a pathetic whinney. 1 could 
not take time even to end her misery. 

Tlie door was fastened within. I burst it open and en- 
tered. Before the window, which commanded a view of the 
Pass, sat my grandmother. Her head rested against the 
high-backed chair and her hand lay upon an open book in 
her lap. Beside her knelt Vicey, shrieking and shivering 
with terror. The walls were scarred by pieces of the shell 
which had entered at the window. The aged face was 
peaceful as in slumber. Only a line of blood trickling out 
from under the grey hair told that it was death. 

I staggered to a chair and sat gazing on the pale still 
face. I will not try to picture my agony. Every instant I 


expected to share her fate and fervently hoped I might. 
Before me all tlie time was the thought of my father's an- 
guish. This was the fruit of my disobedience. I saw it all. 
When the others fled she had refused to go, trusting, no 
doubt, to her grey hairs to save her from harm, perhaps not 
thinking or not knowing what battle means to those within 
its verge. The faithful slave had remained, remembering 
her duty while I had forgotten mine. Now that I had come, 
the terrors of the battle were too much for her, however. 
She fled and left me with the dead, slain through my neg- 

I do not know how long the battle lasted. I hoped 
each gun that was fired would end my woe. I sat gazing 
vacantly at the dead face until the cannon ceased to roar, 
and only scattering rifle shots were heard on the other side 
of the house. The tide of battle was ebbing towards the 
valley. The enemy held EyaFs Pass. My effort had been 
in vain, I had betrayed my father's trust and had achieved 
— nothing. I had left my grandmother to die, while I 
indulged a boyish impulse to attempt some great thing. 
Before me was the ashen face and beyond it my father's 
reproachful gaze. "Why had not death been merciful ! 

The tramp of horses crunched along the drive. A 
bugle-call sounded almost under the window. I heard 
strange voices but did not heed them. Sabers rattled and 
spurs jingled. Commands were given in the queer singing 
tones peculiar to the enemy's artillery officers. A battery 


was going into position on the very crest from which ours 
had been dislodged. I thought how it would command the 
whole sweep of the valley. The officers dismounted and 
came towards the house. 

" That's Xumber Two's work," I heard one say in ex- 
ulting tones. " Knocked the chimney to pieces the first 
crack. Splendid shot that. Told Sperry to drop it just 
ten feet, and there 'tis, through the window. Not more 
than five feet out of the line of the other. Good practice 
that, eh. Captain ? " 

" First rate. Why didn't j^ou keep on ?'' 

" Keep on ? We'd have knocked this split-stick cubby- 
house to flinders in five minutes if the General hadn't in- 

" W^hat made him so particular ? They say it belongs 
to a rebel general. Wonder if he is an old friend ?" 

" I don't know about that, but I heard that the nigger 
who showed us this hole through the mountain, made him 
promise that neither the house nor anything about it should 
be disturbed. I suppose tliat^s why he stoj)ped us and why 
a guard must be put round it now. If he's given his word, 
there won't be a leaf disturbed if we all cHq of starvation 
guarding it." 

" You don't say ? Well, now, that was good of the nig- 
ger, wasn't it ? Blamed if I'd have been so careful if any 
one had kept me in slavery all my life. Poor fellow ! It was 
poor pay he got for it ! " 


There was no mistaking the voices, even if the words 
had not revealed the character of the speakers. Those 
sharp, thin, jerky tones could not be found anywhere in 
the South. The wave of battle had swept on by me and I 
was alone with my dead witliin the Federal lines. This 
much I knew. It flashed upon my consciousness also that 
Jack had piloted the Federal forces through Eyal's Pass, 
and that these men were commending what they called 
" his faithfulness ! " 

Despite the horror of my surroundings my blood boiled 
with indignation. I strode to the open door and said with 
scornful emphasis : 

" Gentlemen, you have praised this treacherous slave's 
forbearance. Will you come and see how he has recom- 
pensed his mistress' kindness ? " 

They were fine looking men — evidently of some cul- 
ture, though one would never have suspected it from their 
intonation. They followed me silently, removing their hats 
as they saw they were in the presence of death. One of 
them, a red-bearded giant who wore myoptic glasses, bent 
over the page on which the dead hand rested and read 
aloud : 

" So the King of the North shall come " 

The cold hand hid all that followed. 

" I hope you jaaid the rascal well for the blood he has 
spilled," I said, hotly* 

The officer gazed at me with the hard, stony glare of 


the short-sighted for a moment. Then puiting his hand 
upon my shoulder he turned me about so that I faced the 
shattered window. Pointing through it he said, sternly : 

" That is his reward ! " 

There upon the ground not twenty yards away, lay the 
form of Jack, his pinched face turned towards us with the 
grey j^allor of death upon it. The morning sunlight fell 
on the great dark eyes, which seemed even yet to be filled 
with anxious apprehension. 

I was positively glad that the unfaithful slave had met 
his fate, and felt a certain nearness to the officer, who I 
thought ajjpreciated my feeling. 

" He did not live long to enjoy the price of his treach- 
ery," I said, almost exultingly. 

" What do you mean by ' the price of his treachery ' ? " 
asked the officer. 

''The money he received for betraying his master/' I 
answered in surprise. 

" He received no money," was the cool reply. 

'' No ? Then why did he do it ? " My tone must have 
revealed my incredulity. 

" To give liberty to his race," was the solemn reply. 

" Well, he got his liberty," I said, bitterly. I could 
not avoid the sneer. 

" He was so anxious lest those who had been kind to 
him should suffer by his act, that he crept up here before 
the firing was over, and fell a victim to his faithfulness to 


those to whom he owed only the debt of servitude. For 
his people he became a hero ; for his mistress' sake a mar- 
tyr, sir I " 

The officer strode away, scornful and indignant. I 
wondered at the strange infatuation that accounted the un- 
faithful slave who lay dead Avithout, a hero and a martyr. 
To me he was a dog who had been fitly punished. They 
were Northern men — the first, I think, that I had ever 
met. It flashed across me then, that they knew nothing 
about the matter of which they spoke. I even smiled at 
their ignorance. We represented the poles of American 
civilization, and neither understood the distance that lay 
between. What the one counted heroic, the other esteemed 
the climax of baseness and ingratitude. 


Of what followed there is no need to write. I buried 
my dead under the trees where her husband had waited so 
long for her coming. Tlie enemy were very considerate. 
The grave was dug by alien hands and I was allowed to de- 
part without hindrance. For a time we remained within 
the enemy's lines, which extended beyond the Grove. When 
the ashes of the roof-tree lay upon the hearthstone as my 
grandmother had predicted, we did not think of returning 
to Ryalmont, but went on through the hostile lines into the 
camp of our friends, only to become a part of the suffer- 
ing, terror-stricken crowd of fugitives, driven from the 
Queen City of the hills by the barbaric ruthlessness of tlie 
victorious enemy. I would not dwell upon the sufferings of 
that terrible time. Then were sown the seeds of disease 
that ere long left us alone — my mother and myself. 

My father uttered no word of reproach for what had 
happened. Nay, he had even commended my conduct, 
though I told him all, extenuating nothing. Yet I grew 
morbid, and wished that I might die. Already I had seen 
my grandmother's prophesy fulfilled. " The King of the 
North " had come ! The Grove lay in ashes ! 

We had no special reason to complain. We suffered 


only the haps of war, aud were but a part of the great throng 
of refugees who fled from the enemy's power, but never 
thought of surrender. Scarcely had my mother reached 
the shelter of a house on one of her father's plantations 
when we saw that also burned by the same ruthless legions 
Alio followed on our track. Ah, what desolation they 
/eft behind them I Exposure, want and terror had made my 
mother a wreck of her former self. The baby-faced sister 
had grown wild-eyed aud puny in the midst of war's alarms. 
At the best, it seemed that but little of life was left to either. 
In a vain attempt to protect them from further aud grosser 
outrage, I came near meeting the fate I courted. They 
said I fought with savage ferocity when the undisciplined 
hoi de ravaged our little store and offered insult to those 
in my charge. It was foolish desperation. A sabre-stroke 
left me apparently dead, and my folly destroyed the 
roof to which we had fled for refuge. The gi'eat pine forest 
opened its arms to the terrified household, and a slave per- 
formed a last service by bearing me to a place of shelter far 
within its soughing shadows. He brought also a slender 
stock of provisions, a remnant of the household stores which 
had escaped the flames — enough, it was hoped, to serve un- 
til relief should come. The next day he set out to carry 
word of our sad plight to my grandfather. He was the last 
of those ''held to service or labor "in our behalf. His 
faithfulness had withstood want, peril and frequent oppor- 
tunity to escape, but he neither delivered the message nor 


returned. What became of him we nsver knew. Whether 
the hope of freedom was too much for his faithfulness, or 
he paid for his devotion with his life, we could not tell. 
Betwixt the enemy with their barbarous marauders and the 
rough riders who hung upon their flank and rear, life was 
very uncertain — especially a black man's life. 

It was long before I knew what we sutfered — how death 
had come to our circle and starvation had stared us in the 
face, while my mother nursed me back to life. For a day's 
journey on either side stretched the devastation that lay 
in Sherman's track — a dt'vastation afterwards celebrated in 
rollicking song by the enemy. For us, our tears made no 
noise, however fast they fell. My mother would not let me 
die. She had, I think, given up her husband, and in her 
forecasted widowhood fought madly for my life. We were 
safe, for a time at least, and my mother devoted herself to 
the care of her sick child and her unconscious son. For 
days there was but a morsel for us all, and little hope of re- 
lief. She was too weak to go in search of food. She did 
once drag her feeble limbs to Avhere the nearest house had 
stood, three miles away, only to find it a heap of ashes. 
The destroyer's track was wide and desolate. " War," he 
said, " is barbarism ;" and well did this barbarian illustrate 
his own philosophy. So she prayed and waited for the end. 

At length the last dust of meal had been consumed. 
The next morning she found a rabbit lying on the window- 
ledge. A cat which had followed us from the burned house 


had brought its prey to those threatened with starvation. 
Every morning for twelve days the same thing occurred. 
Then relief came, and she ceased to provide us with game. 
The story is too well known to need affirmation. I only 
mention it here that my silence may not be construed into 
denial. My mother has always deemed it a miracle. Per- 
haps I have not been without the feeling that a life thus 
strangely ])reservcd may have had some special purpose. 

When I woke to consciousness we were but two. The 
first task they had to perform, who came to our rescue, 
was to dig a little grave in the soft white sand under 
the pine needles. So one of our household slept beneath 
the oaks at Ryalmont, one beneath the shadow of the pines, 
and two, worn and feeble, waited hopelessly at a kinsman's 
house beside the Oconee. The other — whose life and fame 
was all that was left to us of earthly joy — ah! where was he 
in those last days of tumult and disaster ? 

We heard of him but seldom during those weary 
mouths. Perhaps we ought not to have done so, but we 
kept from him the story of our woes. Only the bare fact 
of his bereavements ever came to his knowledge. His 
brilliant career was the one consolation of our lives. In 
the wearisome weeks that elapsed before I could leave my 
bed, the story of his gallant deeds was the sole anesthetic 
of my pain. I remember my mother telling it over and 
over again as she used to sing cradle songs to me in 
childhood. She had carried the little worn bundle of his 


letters iu her bosom through all our perils. They were the 
most precious things she possessed. 

I was but half-restored when the end came. It had 
been long expected. My father's last letter had left no 
room for hope. Then there was silence — and we waited 
with beating hearts for the result. The rumor of surren- 
der — tliat epoch to which all the subsequent events of the 
South properly relate, because it marks the beginning of 
its new life — had already passed from quivering heart to 
heart like an electric flash. AYe waited only for confirma- 
tion of our forebodings. Gloom, uncertainty, terror and 
grief were strangely commingled in every breast. 

In the fourth spring after that which witnessed its 
birth, the fair new nation died. The starry cross that 
had waved triumphant over a hundred battle-fields, had 
danced above the waters of every sea, and kissed the breezes 
of every clime, was trailed in the dust wet with tears and 
grimy with the smoke of confiict, and folded away by fair 
hands embalmed in sweet incense and holy memories. 

Eight millions of freemen had bidden defiance to three 
times their number in the holy cause of liberty, staking all 
for the right of self-government — and failed ! Hope gave 
way to humiliation ; determination to despair. Xo pen 
can picture the universal woe. The past was swallowed 


up in oblivion. Its beauty, its brightness, its glory were 
swept away. Even its heroism was branded with infamy. 
Tlie sources of its prosperity were dried up. Those who 
had been the subjects of its will were to be the shapers of 
its destiny. Instead of boastful leaders, the people of the 
South could be regarded in the future, at the best, as only 
bastard children of the Kepublic. It mattered not how long 
they might remain under her sway ; how faithfully they 
might guard her interests or serve under her banner, the 
stain of rebellion and the taint of failure must rest forever 
on them. If it had been in truth a civil war — one whose 
dissensions interpermeated a whole people and were not 
confined to one section or class — this would not have 
been the case. Then the necessities of good neighborship 
and the difficulty of preserving the distinction, would, in 
time, have effaced the brand of treason. But when the line 
of fracture is clear and distinct — on the one side, loyalty 
to the old government all but universal, and on the other, 
devotion to the new almost without excef)tion — in such a 
case, from the very nature of humanity, the shame is made 
perpetual, the taint of disloyalty can never lose its force, 
and never cease to be imputed when the blood flows hot 
and passion fires the heart. The children's children must 
bear the humiliation of the father's shame. So a proud 
people, stripped of consolation in the past, and covered with 
humiliation in the present, looked forward to the futui'e 


without hope and with ouly a sullen, distrustful defiance 
mingled with their despair. 

Not in a thousand years — if indeed in all history — has 
the result of any war touched the individual lives of a whole 
nation so closely as did this the life of every one of the 
Southern people. Not more radical was the change of re- 
lation when Israel was driven away into captivity. No 
individual of any class was left unaffected by the outcome. 
Those Avho had been the richest of the rich, as a rule, were 
now the poorest of the poor. Class and privilege were abol- 
ished. Ouly race and consanguinity remained. The bar- 
rier betwixt the master and the ' ' poor white " was thrown 
down, and all stood together on the lower level. If there 
were any odds, they were now with those who had formerly 
carried weight in the race of life. The people who had 
been so closely united by the singular necessities of the past 
were now inseparably welded in the -white heat of disaster. 
Hereafter there could be but two classes. Between them 
ran the line of color — the insuperable barrier of fate ! 

When the billows of disaster swept over the South, her 
most hopeful children felt that all was lost. We were fools 
at whose folly fate already mocked ! Our past had made us 
weak in one thing — mechanical creation. In this the enemy 
were exceptionally strong, and because of this they con- 


quered. The struggle tauglit us what we needed to gain 
and why we did not succeed. It showed us our weakness 
and our strength. It only prepared us for a triumph which, 
had it come at that time, would have been forever fatal to 
our hopes. Had the South won, with slavery still an actual 
;ind controlling force, its career as an independent nation 
must have been brief. In any age the institution is the sure 
precursor of peril. Indicative of wealth, it is never an ad- 
junct of power. In our day the tide of civilization sets so 
strongly against the principle that no nation could build 
upon it as a corner-stone with any hope of permanence. 
Defeat, therefore, revealed at once the weakness of our 
enemy and the evil which hopelessly weighed down our 
aspirations. It rid us of a fatal burden and showed us how 
we might ultimately succeed. 

Fate had still one more terrible blow in store for us. 
My grandfather had learned of our calamity in time to res- 
cue us from starvation and remove us to a more comforta- 
ble but humble dwelling on one of his plantations. He had 
little hope, if any, of our cause, but of my father's gallantry 
and genius he could scarce find words to express his ad- 
miration. "Whatever the end might be, it could only bring 
him fame. In all the battles he had received no wound, 
neither he nor his good horse. He was sure to come out 


whole, and in the future would make good the mistakes of 
the past. Thus spoke the hopeful aristocrat of the plebian 
son-in-law in whom all his pride was centered. He assured 
us that he had saved a store of cotton, securely hidden in 
almost inpenetrable swamps, so that when peace came we 
would still have ''enough to go a long way when we should 
have no niggers to feed." He had cleverly prevised the re- 
sult, and with the shrewdness of his people had provided 
against want. 

His cheerfulness was not without effect nj^onour broken 
spirits. As the spring advanced our hopes revived with the 
opening blossoms. For the first time my mother began to 
pray for peace. Patiently, hopefully, uncomplainingly she 
had borne all, praying only that the right might triumph — 
the right her husband had taught her to believe must ulti- 
mately prevail and for which he had offered all. But faith 
and hope — almost desire for victory — were dead, and now 
she only prayed that the end might come and he be spared 
to return to her arms. 

An enemy's hand struck the final blow. For weeks we 
had heard nothing from the outer world. We felt sure the 
end had come ; but when, and how, and where ? — of these 
we knew nothing. The blow had fallen in the darkness 
and we knew not what had been the scath it wrought. 

One day a band of troopers, riding jaded horses but 
full of rollicking Jestfulness, came by. They said the war 
was over and they were in search of a fugitive president. 


Their conduct gave proof of their sincerity. They neither 
pillaged nor insulted. When they rode away they left a 
newspaper ^oublislied in Xew York. I shall never forget 
how strange its imprimatur looked. I had not seen a sheet 
bearing that impression for more than three years. It told 
the story of Appomattox and the few days that preceded it. 
Among other things it related how, on the last day that 
there was any hope for the Confederate cause, one who com- 
manded a divison, which, though worn and decimated, 
still marched with closed ranks and soldierly bearing, was 
asked by his great leader to make one more charge, to gain 
time for the army to escajDe the clutches of the foe that 
hung on its flanks. Even this hostile sheet told with a 
burst of hearty admiration how the oflficer had saluted his 
commander and ridden away as gaily as if to assured vic- 
tory, leading his depleted command like a thunderbolt 
against the enemy and falling, with a shout of triumph on 
his lips, as the crowded ranks gave way before his impetuous 
charge. He bore my father's family name. We knew that 
there were three commanders of that name in the army of 
Northern Virginia. As if from fear that hope might yet 
live in the bereaved hearts, the name of his horse was given, 
and the fact carefully noted that man and horse had passed 
safely through all those four years of strife only to fall to- 
gether on the last contested field — afield made ever glorious 
by his gallantry. The horse's name was " Secession! " 
Even in our sorrow the praise of the foe — a grudging. 

EIOEl Y-NINE. 137 

mercenary and unappreciative foe, as we thought them to 
be — was very sweet. I have never forgotten its sweetness, 
and would not wrong by the shadow of a thought those who 
hiid so fragrant a chaplet on my father's bier. The shock 
was too much for my weakened system and a relapse fol- 
lowed. When I grew stronger my mother took me back to 
Eyalmont. I think she felt nearer to her dead there than 
anywhere else. A pall hung over the whole land, shutting 
out the future but preserving the dead hopes and racking- 
memories of the past. Fortunately, however, with nations 
as with individuals, duty and necessity come to deaden the 
woes of the past and impel to the achievements of the fu- 

Unlike most wars of modern times, this one brought 
universal poverty with our defeat. The world has never 
appreciated the sacrifices which the Southern people made 
for liberty. Perhaps it never will. They staked their all 
for the cause of self-government. Men risked fortune, 
life and honor. Women gave up luxury and abandoned 
splendor without regret. Of gold and silver the Confed- 
eracy had little. Not half a dozen coins exist that bear its 
imprint. But her children gave all that they had, and 
then coined their hopes and their hearts, taking in exchange 
her promise to pay, even under the shadow of the Federal 
flag. All this, of course, was swept away. Individuals, 


corporations, municipalities, states — all were left bankrupt. 
If they afterward repudiated the debts of the past, it was 
not until the whole economical structure on which they 
were based was swept away by war. 

Slavery, which was the bank in which the Southern 
man deposited his surplus, had disappeared, and with it 
the earnings of two centuries. Five billions of dollars, the 
accumulations of a people enterprising and economical to a 
degree that few nations have ever equaled, were thus swept 
out of existence. Land was the only representative of value 
remaining, save mere personal possessions, and on these 
war had fed for a quadrenniate. From being in one sense, 
perhaps, the richest people in the world, the South, in the 
twinkling of an eye, became the poorest. 

Even to that poverty came a cry for charity which 
could not go unheeded. The slave, now made free, 
besought his impoverished master to supply tomorrow's 
bread. The master heard, and out of his vanishing stores 
gave to the chattel he had lost, enough to supply his wants. 
It was a proud moment — a beautiful picture ! A people 
stripped of wealth, reduced almost to penury, sharing the 
little that remained with the slaves the enemy had made 
free ! Of course, the enemy fed some of them ; then 
vaunted their charity and boasted of the food and clothing 
which they gave to the famishing freedman — surplus food 
and cast-off clothing ! But the South, on whom the 
greater burden fell, made no moan, uttered no cry, sylla- 


bled no boast. Her children were starving ; her granaries 
and smokehouses empty ; her kitchens ravaged by vandal 
hordes. For four years the products of the earth had been 
garnered by war. Four harvests had been lost, and their 
proceeds swallowed up by the insatiate, bloodstained earth. 
Luxury had been so long forgotten that its commonest 
forms were strangers to households once rejoicing in abun- 
dance. Yet in their poverty, humiliation and despair, they 
shared the little that was left with the bondman who had 
served them. Compared with the bounty of which the 
North boasted, this unnoted charity was as the ocean to the 
rivulet. I would not seem to boast even of my own coun- 
trymen, but it is time the truth was told. It brought its 
own reward, too. The struggle for self-support and this 
charity which common humanity made compulsory— the 
support of the former slave — was the best possible prepara- 
tion our people could have had for the career of self -develop- 
ment upon which they have since entered. 

No wonder the excitement and agony of this woful 
time was too much for my weakened frame. I remem- 
ber struggling against insensibility for my poor mother's 
sake. They say my need of nursing crowded her woe into 
the background and saved her from being overwhelmed. 
It seemed cowardly and mean at this supreme crisis of fate 
to leave the burden on her shoulders ; but I was too weak 
to resist the encroachments of disease, and felt the shad- 
ows gathering around me with a dim sense of relief that 


I was not to witness the ills which the future must inevi- 
tably bring. I was glad that my father had not lived to 
see the humiliation of our people, and rejoiced that little 
Madge had not survived to suffer degradation. I grieved 
only for my mother, and that pityingly, rather than with 
any idea of relieving her sorrow or lightening her burdens. 

Even when apj^arent health returned I was hardly more 
hopeful. A nerveless languor had taken an irresistible 
hold upon me. I neither hoped nor feared nor cared. I 
was dully conscious of our return to Ryalmont, but noted 
little of what had happened. Vicey had remained upon 
the premises with her children. For many months the 
house was the headquarters of the Federal officer com- 
manding in the valley. Strangely enougli, he had neither 
stolen nor defaced. I think there is hardly another house 
in the entire theater of war in which the Yankee set his 
foot that does not yet bear marks of his occupancy. Per- 
haps it was because Vicey remained and served him that 
her mistress' belongings were not pillaged. Rank weeds 
were growing where the mansion at the Grove had stood, 
but despite the vicissitudes it had undergone we found 
Ryalmont almost as comfortable as when we were driven 
from the shelter of its roof. 

The Federal soldiers had buried Jack near the mouth 
of the Pass, with a cairn of loose stones heaped over him, 
and an inscription reciting his merits painted on a rude 
headboard. This was soon obliterated as an insult to 


our people. He died for his race, but tliey will never do 
him honor. Gratitude for favors past, seems to be a virtue 
foreign to their natures. Even John Brown, to whom they 
owe more than to any other man, they have never dreamed 
of honoring. A penny from each would build him a royal 
monument, but the place where his gallows stood is not 
even hallowed ground to them. The promise of the future 
is, as yet, far more significant to them than the sacrificial 
offerings of the past. 

It was well that my mother was an Elspre. She in- 
herited with the name not only the thrift but the hopeful- 
ness of her Breton ancestors. I never knew how it was 
done, but late as the season was, a crop was pitched at 
Eyalmont. Christoi^her, with a Federal uniform upon his 
back and a small supply of Federal "greenbacks" in his 
pocket, reappeared and offered to work the Grove "on 
shares." There were neither fences, utensils nor stock, but 
somehow Christopher and my mother managed to raise a 
notable crop that year. The arable acreage of Eyalmont 
was not gi'eat, but the land was fertile and all the richer 
for the dead lying beneath its mold and the enemy's long 
occupancy. The presence of the commanding officer had 
saved the grounds from spoliation, and the 3"ears of war had 
added luxuriance to the trees my father had planted. It 
was a bower of blossoms when we returned, and every petal 
seemed redolent of his memory. While my mother was in- 
tent on restoring our fortunes I only brooded of the past. 


No appeal that she could make stirred in me a throb of am- 
bition. Even the sight of her hopeful energy gave me no 
desire to share her toils or lighten her labor. She wished 
me to emulate my father's example, but I could not bear 
the thought of exertion. To escape her importunity I 
wandered about upon the mountain loitering dreamily, 
in sunshine or shadow, thinking only of the past. My 
mother bitterly reproved my listlessness, declaring that it 
was the "poor-white blood" asserting itself in my nature. 
It is a curious fact that the planter-class of the South, 
who are regarded by the Xorth as ease loving aristocrats, 
have an ineffable scorn of the lack of ambition and antipa- 
thy to labor which the " poor-white" man so often displays. 
My mother's reproaches only drove me oftener from 
home and farther into the solitude of the mountains. The 
Pass, with its sad associations, had a peculiar charm for 
me. I often traced its windings, noted the indications of 
the enemy's brief sojourn, and studied with interest and 
surprise the ingenious devices by which they had overcome, 
swiftly and easily, what seemed insuperable obstacles to 
their sudden night march. I learned that a body of " pion- 
eers" in a single afternoon had made the night march 
through the rugged glen not only possible but compara- 
tively easy. The old trail' and the bed of tho mountain 
torrent had helped them. So the time dragged by until 
the midsummer came and the anniversary of my grand- 
mother's death drew near. 


One of the works in the valley to which our Pass led 
had gi'own from a simple redan, constructed to oppose the 
ingress of the enemy, to a fort which was the key to the 
whole valley. The roads leading north and south between 
the mountain ranges met a handred yards in front of this 
fort, and entered a wide easy pass that ran to the westward. 
The fort became important to tlie enemy after his advance, 
commanding as it did the most available route to his rear, 
along which supplies must be brought in case the railroad 
should be disabled for any length of time. For this reason 
it was enlarged into an enclosed work of great strength, 
which was held by a considerable force for some months. 
It was so formidable, in fact, that Hood abandoned the de- 
sign of assailing it when he broke through the enemy's 
lines, and turned westward to fall on his communications 
instead of his rear. 

The valley had been denuded of timber, partly to sup- 
ply the needs of the armies and partly to give range for ar- 
tillery. The new growth had sprung up with wonderful 
luxuriance, transforming the whole plain into a dense 
thicket through which, white and tortuous, wound the 
roads, shut in by walls of solid green. Fosse and scarp were 
covered with the same rank growth, which choked even 


the noxious weeds the invaders had brought with them. 
Here for the first time I saw the phmt known as " Canada 
thistle," which was never found on Southern soil until war 
brought it among the curses that followed in its train. Xot 
many travelers passed along the country road at that time, 
and few of these paused to trace the green billows which 
alone marked the position of the old earth-work. 

This crumbling fortress, hidden in the dark green sea of 
rank growing chapparel, was my favorite resort. The bram- 
bles had lined scarp and counter-scarp with an almost impas- 
sable clieval-de-frise. On the crest of the parapet I had 
cleared a narrow path. A vixen had made liei- den and 
reared her whelps in one of the angles. There was a fine 
view to the west and south, while on the mountain side to 
the northeastward one could yet trace the lines of works 
where the grand assault was made and repulsed. 

On the right of the road, a hundred yards to the west- 
ward, was an old church which war has made forever 
famous. The flinty knoll, on which it stood, once crowned 
by a noble oak grove, was now bare, leaving the dark 
weather-beaten hulk a landmark in the unbroken sea ot 
green. It still bore testimony of the scath of war. There 
were holes in the roof through which the shells had come 
shiieking on their way to the little work behind which our 
forces stood. Its door was open, so that man or beast entered 
unhindered. Its floor was yet grimy with unholy use. 
Upon the dark pine ceiling were yet darker traces of the 


spray shot upward from severed arteries when the surgeons 
plied their instruments within its altar. 

In digging the ditch on one side of the fort, a vein of 
pure cool water had been struck, which still sent a little 
stream trickling under overhanging alders to the sandy 
roadbed below. This scoring had been carefully walled and 
arched by the ingenious soldiery, with pieces of white quartz 
brought from a hillside half a mile away. The bottom, 
too, was lined with choice crystals of the same. Small 
specks of gold and sparkling veins of delusive pyrites 
showed in the alabaster blocks. They had built over it 
also a little grotto with rustic benches. On the outer line 
of the work at this point grew a sturdy oak. It had been 
cut off even with the parapet and a narrow flight of steps 
in the red clay embankment were half hidden by its bole. 
Over this was built the arbor that shaded the spring. The 
stump had sent out so rank a growth about its crown that 
the overweighted boughs sloped down until they met the 
undergrowth around. Young shoots had sprung up through 
the rough wood-work here and there, but I had cut them 
off, cleared the leaves out of the spring, and made myself 
a retreat almost impervious to prying eyes and so deftly 
hidden that no passer-by would dream of its existence. 

I do not know why, but it pleased me to think that I 
might walk upon the parapet, looking out over the sea of 
dark green foliage for miles in every direction, and by tak- 
ing three steps down its side be hidden as securely as a 


mole in its burrow. The silence and the desolation pleased 
me. There was an indescribable charm in this piece of 
the enemy's handiwork. I had collected a grim museum 
in it. Bullets, pieces of shell, a skull, and other relics of 
war time, lay upon the beneli around the foot of the oak 
whose rugged bole itself bore marks of the conflict. 
Througli the network of leaves I could see both the roads 
and had a fair view of their junction. 

To this retreat I came one day in midsummer. It did 
not occur to me, until I had eaten my simple luncheon and 
drunk of the spring, that it was the anniversary of my 
grandmother's death. As maybe imagined, my reflections 
were not pleasant. I hardly knew how time passed until 
cheerful voices roused me from my absorption. I knew 
instantly they were the voices of strangers. We had little 
laughter among us then. The few country people I had 
l)een wont to see passing along the road had that look of 
hopeless apathy which invariably settled upon those who 
lived witliin the actual theater of war. 

I remembered having heard that a company of federal 
officers were surveying and mapping the old battle-fields, 
and feared they might be coming to examine the fort. 
Perhaps they would even profane my leafy sanctuary. I 
wondered if they would find the little path that led down 
to it from the parapet. I dreaded to look out, lest I should 
catch sight of a blue uniform. My feeling towards our 
recent enemy was, at that time, one of simple unmitigated 


hate. No other word- expresses it, and I am not sure that 
even this tells all the sickening intensity of my detestation. 
Even now, when all malevolence is gone and only kindly 
admiration remains in my heart, I have a jaositive antipa- 
thy for blue. I think this is common with my country- 
men. It does not imply hostility, but only the bitter taste 
that brings to the mind the bolus — the continuing and in- 
herited aversion to what recalls our days of humiliation 
and defeat. The gray is a not uncommon uniform with the 
militia of the North, but even the holiday soldier of the 
South would never feel comfortable in a garb of blue. Its 
darker shades have not been popular even with our ladies, 
since Appomattox. We have, I suppose, the same uncon- 
scious dislike for blue that our forefathers had for red-coats, 
only intensified by disaster instead of being mollified by 

I was not disappointed when, peeping through my 
leafy screen, I saw a half dozen officers in more or less of 
military undress, but still with the hated blue predomi- 
nating, mounted on finely groomed and caparisoned horses, 
riding toward the forks of the road. I cannot express the 
bitterness I felt, yet I could not help observing their 
movements. With them were two or three ladies. I knew 
they were Northern women — probably the wives and 
daughters of some of their escort. I smiled at the stiffness 
with which they sat their horses and would have known by 
that alone they Avere not my countrywomen. But I had 
no need to speculate upon that question. There were few 


Southern women who would have accepted such escort at 
that time. There was one exception to this awkwardness. 
The last couple in the cavalcade consisted of a dapper young 
man, who wore spectacles and rode a showy, meaty sorrel, 
which I noted scornfully. The lady, hoAvever, sat her horse 
with ease, and I half-wondered whether she were not 
Southern born. 

The company paused at the forks, and I could hear 
them discussing the route they were to take. I gathered 
that one they called " General," with the ladies and some 
others of the party, had come to spend a few days at the 
camp of the engineers and review the scenes of former ex- 
ploits. The spectacled officer was in favor of taking the 
southern road and started along it with the young lady 
under his charge. After going a little way they paused 
and waited the decision of the otliers. The day was sultry 
and the blistering three o'clock sun looked down on an al- 
most breathless plain. While tliey halted the lady took 
off her hat and fanned herself with its wide brim. As she 
did so a coil of dark hair fell down upon her shoulders as 
she sat with her back towards me. I noticed that her horse 
seemed restive, tossing his head and 2)awing tlie ground. 
The question of their route was settled by the general's 
starting toward the pass to the westward and calling the 
others to follow. As they rode away I noticed a mass of 
white thunder clouds creeping up behind the mountain to 
the south of the pass, just in the path of the blazing sun. 


I laughed to think how one of our sudden showers would 
soon send them dripping and draggled to the old church 
for shelter. I could almost hear them pounding along the 
corduroy road in their enforced retreat. But if they came 
to the old church, where should I find refuge ? My leafy 
grotto was well enough while the sun shone, but a poor 
shelter from the rain. The thought annoyed me and kept 
my mind running on what I had seen. It was curious that 
I was able to recall the appearance of but one of the ladies. 
Of the others I could only remember that their habits were 
blue — they may have varied in shade, but they were blue. 
For this one, her habit — what was its color ? I was sure 
it was not blue. The hat was black ; of that I was cer- 
tain. And the horse ? 

Someliow it pleased me, this attempt to piece out my 
memory. I had noted little and guessed rather than re- 
membered that she must be young, and fair rather than 
beautiful. Fiirther I could not go. Habit and feature 
seemed curiously to elude my recollection. Her hair I 
knew was dark and abundant. The horse she rode was 
much more distinct in my mind though I had not con- 
sciously scrutinized him. But his full eye, strong bony 
head, long neck and deep but firm-drawn quarter, made a 
picture no lover of the horse could fail to note, of which, 
to a casual observer, the young girl upon the saddle, 
however fair, would be only an incident. Indeed, one 
almost regretted that the flowing drapery concealed the 


burnished coat. As I thought of this, it occurred to me 
that her habit was of the color ordinarily known as cadet 
gray, only a shade removed from that worn by the officers 
of the Confederate army. I remembered that it was slashed 
with black and ornamented with buttonS;, and that the hat 
was a plain felt, with a long drooping plume. The picture 
was not an unpleasant one ; and as, one after another, I 
evolved its details from my memory, my heart warmed to 
the rider of the noble horse, whose costume was so closely 
modeled upon that wliich must ever be cherished by the 
Southern people as a memento of a glorious epoch. ** Con- 
federate gray " became not so much a national coior as a 
shroud of holy memories which profane hands miglit not 

As this thought came uppermost in my mind, it 
flashed upon me that the habit miglit liave been aaopted 
in derision — as a taunt to a conquered people. At once 
the half remembered face grew hateful. The horse I 
would have sworn was of southern blood — perhaps a cap- 
tive forced to bear the daughter of a conqueror. If so, 
how must not he despise his present task. He that had 
faced the glare of battle and felt the shock of onslaught, hoAv 
must he not chafe at being made the pet and plaything of 
a conqueror's favorite ! 

All at once my heart stood still ! She that rode and 
all that was about nie faded from my mind . I saw only 
the horse — that grand, deep-throated chestnut with his 
eves of llame, mnsc^les of iron and heart as fearless as th" 


lion's ! The level landscape disappeared. The summer 
flame died out. Cool, spring breezes fanned my brow ; the 
scent of the blossoming wild-grape Avas in my nostrils ; the 
shadow of the mountain road was about me and I heard 
again my father's voice ! 

The thought choked me. I clambered up the parapet 
and gazed eagerly along the road they had taken. My 
father's horse ! It seemed as if he himself stood beside me 
— touched me — called me by name, sent a dying message 
to me ! 

Know him ? How my heart beat at the question ! I 
would have known him among a thousand in the desert 
wilds, aye, even in the city's streets disguised by draft and 
burden. Had I dreamed that he yet lived , I would have 
hunted the world over rather than he should have been a 
captive. Yet he was a captive. I remembered how the 
brand stood out upon his flank as they passed by. How 
the hated letters marred his silky coat — '^TJ. S." — badge 
of shame and profanation ! 

An hour before I would have given anything to obtain 
possession of him— to have known even that he lived. 
Now he was forever disgraced. I spurned him because he 
was not dead. My father's war horse with the brand of 
captivity upon him ! I could not bear the thought. I 
did not envy his northern mistress her possession. I only 
hated him for having lived to serve his master's conqueror. 
I hated him that he did not die when his master fell — that 


maggots were not eating him on the Virginia battle-field ! 
I wished that he might die — that I might kill him ! 

No doubt the doll-faced creature whom he carried 
boasted that her steed had belonged to the leader of that 
last gallant charge. I could have pitied Bucephalus trans- 
formed into a cart-horse ; but my father's charger as a 
liidy's pet — his mistress the child of an enemy ! The 
thought heated my blood to madness. Almost uncon- 
sciously I began to plan his destruction. 

I had grown tall and strong-limbed during the years 
of conflict. My father had resembled his father in appear- 
ance. I was like my grandmother, and had been noted 
from boyhood for strength of arui. Perhaps her fondness 
for me was in a measure due to my resemblance to her 
father, Avho was said to have been the strongest man in all 
the region round. As I strode back and forth aloug the 
parapet, muttering imprecations at the senseless beast that 
had aroused my anger, almost unconsciously I took out my 
knife and cut a hickory sapling that had shot thick and 
stocky from the heaped-up earth. I remember thinking, 
as I forced the keen blade through the white fiber, how I 
would like to bury it in the throat of the recreant beast, 
and see his blood flow after it — the base blood that had 
dared to stay in his veins after his master fell. T cut the 
stick and shaped it for a staff. Wliy. I did not know. I 
had long since discarded a cane with that contempt youth 
has of weakness. I trimmed it carefullv and rounded the 


end to fit the hand. The wide white grain showed its 
quick growth and attested its toughness. AVhat did I 
mean to do with it ? I did not ask myself the question. 

Thinking only of the horse I would have worshiped 
as an idol, could he have come to us directly from his 
master's grave, I had forgotten to notice anything about 
me until a vivid flash, followed by a peal of thunder 
that echoed and re-echoed among the peaks, startled me 
from my abstraction. The sun was blotted out, and the 
pass was black with lieaped-up clouds, along the face of 
which the lightning played. I heard a cry — a shout, and 
saw a cloud of dust on the road that led through the 
pass. It rose up, white and feathery against the inky sky. 
The breath of the coming storm caught it and whirled it 
against the dark green side of the mountain on the north. 
I looked on with grim enjoyment, as I thought how fast 
the gay company of northern sight-seers fled before a 
southern storm. Again a cry — or was it a shriek ? 

Looking over the billows of wind-beaten oaks I could 
Just see the figure of a woman clinging to the back of a fly- 
ing steed. Her habit was streaming out behind ; a black 
plume was tossing in the wind. Far in the rear, lashing on 
their straining steeds, came one, two — a half dozen pursuers. 
It was a hopeless race. Those coarse -haired mongrels 
might as well try to catch the wind as to overtake that 
clean-limbed, deep-chested southern horse of royal pedi- 
gree. My heart exulted in his prowess, but I hated him 


all the more that he should wear the fetters of a silken 

I looked again. It was no race for shelter. The 
horse had broken away from his rider. I exulted in the 
idea that he was making a dash for liberty, and gave no 
thought to his imi)erilled rider. The storm came swifter 
than the steed, and its wild breath tossed up the branches 
of the oak that grew beside the parapet so that 1 could 
not see the road. A mad idea seized me — a wild longing 
to destroy ! 

I sprang from the parapet and started towards the 
road. Whether I walked or ran I knew not ; it was barely 
fifty yards away, and there was time enough for either. A 
thick clump of mingled oaks and chinquapins, high 
enough for concealment yet affording opportunity for ob- 
servation through their branches, lined the roadside at this 
point. I Judged the horse would take the way by which 
he came, and so pass close to this leafy covert, I remem- 
ber standing with my arm drawn back ; the clean hickory 
bludgeon I had cut, reversed ; my hand clasping the small- 
er end until the nails cut into the flesh of the palm made 
soft by sickness and sloth. The wind had blown away 
my hat. My coat was lying on the bench in the arbor. I 
must have rolled up my sleeve as I crossed the intervening 
space, for I remember that my right arm was bare almost 
to the shoulder. The wind blew the hair into my eyes. 
I shook it out not thinking that I could use a hand. I had 


but one thought — to chitch and kill the horse which would 
soon pass within my reach ! 

I heard the clatter of hoofs upon the rough corduroy, 
coming momently nearer and nearer. Presently, through 
an opening in the fluttering leaves, I saw the hot eyes and 
blood-red nostrils of the straining horse, and the pallid 
features of his rider framed in black and gray above. I 
laughed to think of her attempting to control the horse 
my father had selected especially for his power. She might 
as well have tried to turn a steamship. She evidently 
realized this fact and was making no eifort to direct his 
movements. Despite the hatred that had grown up in my 
heart, I could not but admire the courage and self-control 
she displayed. Aware of the futility of any effort, she yet 
did nothing to enhance her danger. There were no screams 
— only the set, intense watchfulness showed with what care 
she sought to maintain her seat. If she had been a better 
horsewoman", this would have been a matter of no difficulty, 
for he bore her as lightly as a feather. As she came nearer 
I could see that the skirt of the habit had been caught 
and torn, and the ragged strips were flying back from the 
horse's side. I rejoiced that the cursed thing was torn. 
Perhaps I stepped a little forward in my excitement. At 
least I must have disclosed my presence in some manner, 
for the horse was nearly fifty yards away when the rider 
let fall into my heart as it were, a look of wild entreaty. 

I know not what answer mine made, if any, but at this 


mute appeal I forgot the horse in pity for the rider. It 
was but an instant. Then came again the wild desire to 
slay. The iron hoofs consumed the intervening distance 
like a flash. The glaring eyes came rushing on as if a 
thunderbolt were behind. I noted every detail — the silky 
forelock parted and flying backward in the wind, the shin- 
ing whorl in the center of the forehead, the one white spot 
hardly bigger than a dime that I remembered on the black 
muzzle. I scanned the reins, saw how they were attached, 
and determined where I would fix my hold. The low 
outstretched neck brought the red nostrils and bony head 
nearer still. It seemed as if I might almost touch them, 
but I did not move. Nearer and nearer. I glanced up at 
the rider. She seemed rushing down upon me — the pale 
face and staring eyes full of piteous pleading I 

I had judged my distance and formed my plans. 
When the whorl on his forehead showed just beneath the 
outer limb of the nearest chinquapin I sprang forward. 
There was a blow — a shock — a feeling of helpless projec- 
tion through infinite space — a sense of falling, with dark 
accusing eyes and a drawn pallid face above I Then came 
the shock of an incumbent mass — then darkness 


The night that followed was full of harsh and 
painful dreams. When I finally awoke, it was to find 
myself strapped to an iron bedstead in a plain, rough- 
boarded room, which yet displayed evidences of comfort and 
refinement. My right leg felt stiff and cold and seemed held 
to a frame by a curious straining force. I learned after- 
wards that a weight of two hundred pounds was attached 
to it. It seemed to be broken from hip to toe. I was yet 
to learn that a fracture of the neck of the femur — that bit 
of springy bone which Joins hip and thigh together and keeps 
man upright — was the most serious of my hurts. This was 
no light matter, but I did not speculate about my injuries 
or what caused them, at that time. The chill, the strain 
and a terrible longing for a change of position were the only 
sensations of which I was conscious. My left hand and 
head were free — all the rest, body, shoulders, limbs were 
strapped fast. 

As I struggled to move, a curtain was pushed aside 
and an attendant entered noiselessly. He wore a dark blue 
blouse, short, scant, and ill-fitting, with light-blue trousers 
— the uniform which Yankee economy has devised to mor- 
tify the pride and degrade the manhood of the Federal sol- 
dier. Such is the dread of war among that curious people, 


that it is regarded as good statesmanship to make the soldier 
ashamed of his occupation, so that only the most nnf ortiinate 
and degraded of their population will enter the army except 
as officers, and even they are ashamed to Avear their uniforms 
save when on duty. They seem utterly oblivious to the fact 
that the safety of the republic depends on a universal and 
ever active military spirit. The regular army of the United 
States, before the War for Separation, was made up almost 
entirely of foreign mercenaries, officered by Southern gen- 
tlemen. Even in that struggle a large jDroportion of their 
most efficient leaders were renegade Southerners, and the 
most efficient of the rank and file of foreign birth. At the 
outbreak of tluit war, the South had probably more officers 
than privates botli in the army and the navy. 

It is to be hoped that our new republic will bear in 
mind the fact that her army must be organized upon tlie 
French, rather than tiie English ideal, if it is to be relied 
upon in great emergencies. The white man of the South 
is not purely mercenary in his instincts like his congener 
of the North. With us, the sense of honor very often en- 
tirely overrides the consideration of profit. The North 
hires its private soldiery to endure its scorn. As a conse- 
quence it pays the highest wages ; gets the poorest service ; 
has the largest percentage of desertions of any military or- 
ganization in the Avorld, and, in the event of war, finds 
its regular army infinitely below its volunteer force in the 
morale of its rank and file. Let my countrymen remember 


that lionor and opportunity will win the best men to en- 
gage in the humblest service, which is thereby exalted to 
the highest dignity. I sincerely trust that no man will be 
allowed to wear the emblems of rank in our Southern army, 
who has not first worn the garb of the private and won his 
way above the ranks by length of service, attested acquire- 
ment or approved conduct. By this means we shall always 
have an army of gentlemen, inspired to do the utmost that 
valor can achieve. 

This will be all the easier to effect from the fact that 
the inferior race will always furnish a host of mercenaries, 
who can be relied upon for the more menial phases of 
the service. I know such counsel contravenes the feelings 
and prejudices of our people, but I feel assured that a 
thoughtful consideration of unalterable facts will enable 
them to see the wisdom of such a course. It is essential 
above all things that the new republic, if it is to maintain 
its dignity and power, should harmonize not only the 
interests but the inclinations of the two races within 
her borders. She needs to stimulate the efforts and 
aspirations of both to the very utmost to hold her place 
abreast of other nationalities. By constituting her army 
of two great contingents equal in pay and equipment, the 
rank and file of one to be of the inferior race, officered at 
first by promotion from the white soldier}^, and afterwards 
its honors made a reward for intelligence, capacity and 
devotion among its own rank and file, its officers, whether 


black or white, to be always junior to those of like grade 
in the white corps, it is possible to unite the best aspirations 
of both races in support of lier power -and glory. 

The problem is not without difficulty, but touching as it 
does the very life of the new nation, is certain to command 
the immediate attention of our people. Such a policy was 
impossible under the old government because of the curi- 
ously fanciful construction given under it to the dogma of 
equality. In the Federal army a colored officer Avas liable 
to be assigned to the command of white troops without re- 
gard to his rank, wliile the white officer felt degraded by 
assignment to a colored corps. In truth, such was the 
curious fear of recognizing the fact of race or color, that 
instead of offering to them the spur of promotion in a col- 
ored contingent, the negro,es were treated simply as servile 
mercenaries. By the plan outlined above, a colored subal- 
tern would never be in command of white troops, and if one, 
by long service, good conduct and marked ability, should 
perchance reach the higher grades, his capacity and attain- 
ments would be so pronounced as to command confidence of 
all and so silence every feeling of insubordination. Such an 
event is not likely to happen in this generation unless in a 
case of such phenomenal capacity as to secure universal ap- 
proval. The details of the plan would have to be worked out 
with care, but the experience of the Knights of the Southern 
Cross proves it to be not only feasible but eminently adapt- 


ed to the end in view — the unification of the interests of 
the two races. 

My surprise had hardly time to shape itself into dis- 
gust, when, as my attendant drew aside the curtain, my 
eyes fell upon a scene so familiar as to make me wonder if 
what I saw was not a dream and my painful confinement 
only some horrid nightmare. The oaks, through which the 
morning sunlight streamed, seemed the very ones that stood 
before my chamber window in my father's house. I was 
not mistaken. The camp, in the hospital of which I was 
lying, had been located on the sightly hill where the ashes 
of "The Grove "still showed through the rank-growing 
weeds. The rent the government had been paying for the 
premises since the establishment of the garrison at this 
point after hostilities had ceased, had been the main sup- 
port of my mother's thrifty enterprise. So the enemy's 
subsequent need partially repaired his previous acts of 
wanton destruction. 

It is unnecessary to detail the incidents of my recov- 
ery. Two days of an imprisonment that lasted until the 
leaves upon the oaks were brown and sere, had passed, 
when I first became conscious of my surroundings. All 
before that was a troubled void. Anesthetics and ano- 
dynes had kindly prolonged the darkness that attended 
syncope. I had rescued the general's daughter from 
death — so said my garrulous but attentive nurse — and had 
been brought to the hospital more dead than alive. I 


made no inquiry about the general or his daughter simply 
because I cared nothing about either. In fact, I hardly 
realized to what his words referred. My apathy made no 
difference with his garrulity. He went on to tell me, while 
he busied himself in relieving my pain, how the Avhole sur- 
gical force of the military department had been taxed to 
ensure my recovery. The medical director, the hospital 
surgeon and the local practitioners liad all been engaged 
upon the case. Our old family physician liad recognized 
me and from him my identity had first been learned. An 
ambulance was at once dispatched for my mother and quar- 
ters assigned her at the camp by the general's express 
orders. The attendant evidently expected me to be over- 
powered by this graciousness, but it did not seem to me 
at all strange. Indeed, I could sec no reason why I should 
not be there or why my mother should be elsewhere. I had 
been injured, but how or by whom I had no idea nor e/en 
curiosity enough to ask. He said the horse was undoubt- 
edly mad. He had taken a long journey by rail while in 
high condition. The heat and the dust, with the noise and 
jar of the train, had induced a congested state of the brain 
and predisposed him to madness. 

He employed the medical terms which he had no 
doubt heard the surgeons use in discussing the matter. 
His language struck me as singular and I wondered what 
he meant. What had I to do with "the horse " or " the 
horse" with me ? I must liave dozed while ho droned on. 


I was bruised and full of pain, but he still talked about 
"the horse," while he loosened the straps by which I was 
bound ; chafed my limbs and shifted my position by chang- 
ing the location of certain hard httle pads or cushions with 
which I became very familiar during the weeks that fol- 
lowed. The relief I felt was instant and delightful. As I 
half-slept and half-listened to his words, one thought was 
in my mind and I kept muttering to myself ; 

"The horse! The horse ! " 

" Yes, sir," said my attendant approvingly, " it was a 
great pity, for he was the finest lioss in tlie department — 
by all odds the finest — and never the least ugly before. 
Some says it was the whipping. You see, sir," (he pro- 
nounced it " sorr," which struck me as odd ; I supposed it 
a Yankeeism, then), "you see, sorr, he wasn't used to 
it. The lieutenant feels proper bad about advising it, but 
the doctors say it only hastened the crisis a little." 

It was curious that I felt no interest in what he said, 
and had no thought that it had any relation to myself. 

" But that was a nate blow ye gave him and a nate 
Ijit of a stick that ye did it with too, sorr," he continued as 
he lifted my right arm so that the blood might circulate 
through its veins. " Sure, there's no lack of muscle here " 
— he ran his hand back and forth on my bare arm as he 
spoke — "' but one wouldn't expect anything so soft to give 
such a killin' blow, just in the right spot too. The doctors 
say it's wonderful, sorr, quite wonderful. They say the 


teuth of a second or a quarter of an inch miscalculation, 
and instead of killing the horse and saving the young lady 
you'd both been killed. For that matter it was touch and 
go, any way, with you. He couldn't have served you much 
worse if you hadn't killed him, though of course it might 
have been bad for the lady." 

"Killed the horse? — killed the horse?" I repeated 

"Yes, sorr, killed him fast enough," said the nurse, 
"and by the same token his name was ' Secession,' and 
by good rights he ought to have been dead long ago." 

" Secession ! Secession ! " 

It all flashed upon me then. 

" Did I kill him ? " I asked. 

" Faith, that you did, sorr, as dead as a mackerel." 

"' Thank God ! " 

" Indeed, sorr, that's what the young lady said, and 
good reason slie had to thank the Lord and you too, as no 
doubt she will as soon as she knows you're able to under- 
stand what she says ; but I don't see that you've any special 
reason to be grateful, unless it is for the chance of saving 
her. An' in faith a man with all his seven senses about 
him might do worse than risk his life for the likes of her." 

Despite his enthusiasm, for the young lady, I was 
grateful only that I had killed the horse she had ridden. 

It was a curious experience, those long weeks of con- 
finement, strapped hand and foot, or rather body and limb. 


to the iron bedstead, with that terrible weight tugging night 
and day at the broken leg. I had other hurts, but this was 
the most serious, and it was essential that I be kept from 
any involuntary movement of trunk or limb until the frac- 
tured bone had knitted solidly together. It was my only 
hope, and with youth and health on my side the chances 
were in my favor. The ordeal was not a light one. 1 
had the best of care, however, and was soon surprised to 
find myself enjoying the society of those who wore the uni- 
form I hated. Perhaps this was in part due to the cordial 
praise the officers of the garrison bestowed upon my act. 
It w'as hardly strange that I flushed with pleasure when 
these men, almost every one of whom bore visible tokens of 
the courage he had displayed npon the field of battle, 
called my act heroic and spoke in laudatory terms of the 
strength and address it must have required. I felt their 
commendation to be jiraise indeed. My mother Avas with 
me every day. Friends, old and young, dropped in to see 
me and I soon became a link between the city's life and 
that of the garrison of w^hich I had unwittingly become a 

Of course, the general and his danghter were anxious 
to express their gratitude for her deliverance. I avoided 
the interview as long as I could, and would have been re- 
moved on purpose to escape from it, if I had not been as- 
sured that removal w'as impossible until the bojie was 
firmly knitted. My mother was greatly annoyed at what 


she termed my foolish shyness. She did not know how I 
dreaded the alternative of accepting their gratitude or con- 
fessing the truth. vShe had been the guest of the general's 
daughter since my mishap, and was enthusiastic in her 
praise. When I could defer the ordeal no longer they 
came. There was very little said — so little that I had, or 
thought I had, no opportunity to proclaim the truth. 
Perhaps such things are never quite convenient. I began 
to wonder if it were not possible to avoid it altogether. 
The daughter had been saved by my act ; Avas it necessary 
that I should avow the intent that really inspired it ? 

The general referred to it as a deed worthy of my 
father's son, and seemed to think there could be no higher 
praise. There was nothing that could have given me so 
much pleasure. The daughter uttered some quiet expres- 
sions of gratitude and — that was all. I was glad they said 
no more and ashamed that I had not avowed the truth. 

After that she came often — sometimes sitting with my 
mother, occasionally relieving her in her watch at my bed- 
side. I came at length to expect and enjoy her presence, 
despite the horrible thought that I was deceiving her by my 
silence, and receiving her graceful attentions for an act I 
never intended to perform. A thousand times I determined 
to confess the truth, but was never able to begin the 
humiliating task. 

So the weeks dragged by. When I was able to ride 
in an ambulance, upon a bed specially designed by the 


ingenious surgeon, slie often sat beside me. In this way 
we rode about the valley, and thus attended I returned to 
Ryalmont. Yefc her presence gave even more pain than 
pleasure. Had I not won whatever place I held in her 
esteem by falsehood ? Nevertheless the world had changed 
wonderfully to my eyes since I sat in the angle of the old 
earthwork, and saw the gay party ride by. Before I even 
dared to tempt disaster ])y the use of a crutch, my brain 
was teeming with wild ambitious schemes. My mother 
had no more need to urge but rather to restrain. I was 
burning to rival in achievement the father to whom I had 
oeen so fortunate as to be compared in courage. That com- 
mendation at least I could rightfully and honestly accept. 
The motive did not detract fi-om tlie coolness and courage 
required to perform the act. Yet, after all, it was the 
motive rather than the act that inspired the praise of which 
I was so greedy. I did not like to speculate ujjon the mat- 
ter, but determined that I would thereafter deserve the 
praise that had been so generously accorded. 

Had I known all these weary weeks that I was the 
personal guest of the general, my chagrin would have been 
unendurable. I not only had the notion which is prevalent 
among my countrymen in regard to the mercenary charac- 
ter of the Yankee, but was quite ignorant of that inflexible 
system by which modern armies are subsisted. I had re- 
garded myself, whenever I thought of the matter at all, as 
somehow supported and cared for at public expense — 

k;8 eighty- nine. 

merely living upon the superHuity of tlie satrap who ruled 
onr people. I did not dream that there was any impro- 
priety in tlius billeting me upon the service with which 
he was connected, and if such a thought had occurred to 
me I should hardly have deemed it out of character in a 
Yankee general. 

The truth is tliat our Nortliern friends have boasted so 
long of the sharpness and slirewdness to which they at- 
tribute not only individual success, l)ut the general pros- 
perity, that they have only themselves to blame if they 
are regarded as a nation of tricksters by whom the ability to 
deceive is considered tlie most desirable of attainments. It is 
hardly strange that to the people of the South, the Yankee 
and the Jew should stand on the same level and be deemed 
alike thrifty traffickers, Avho have souglit their own advan- 
tage by devious ways so long that honor, though not alto- 
gether unknown among them, has become very rare and is 
held in little esteem. I suppose this feeling reconciled me 
to the acceptance of favors I would otherwise have shrunk 
from receiving at a stranger's hands. 


Ryalmont even in its autnmn garl) was beautiful. The 
soft October haze hung about the hillsides. The gums 
and maples flamed among the pines. The dogwood flaunt- 
ed its crimson banner among the russet oaks. The dying 
year had never seemed so beautiful before, for my long ill- 
ness made the earth appear all the brighter when I came to 
look upon its face. Perhaps the fact that Edith Fairbanks 
was a guest at Ryalmont had something to do with my 
enjoyment of the season. Fate seemed to have decreed 
that we should not l)e separated. Her father had made all 
his preparations to return north, when he was suddenly 
ordered on special duty to New Orleans. He expected to 
be absent but a week — not more than two at the farthest. 
My mother invited the daughter to pass the interval with 
us at Ryalmont. It was Christmas when her father re- 
turned. My convalescence was then comjjlete. How could 
it be otherwise. Love had been my nurse. When I began 
to try the shattered limb, it was ujjon her shoulder that I 
leaned. Her eyes looked up to mine with anxious solicitude 
at every careful step. It was not long before I had con- 
fessed my fault, told the story of my foolish hate, and been 
forgiven. Then I confessed another passion and was for- 
given that also. The announcement of our betrothal 

1 70 EIGHTY- NINE . 

awaited only her father's return. It hardly needed to be 
announced. Everybody knew that we were lovers, and all 
had a kindly interest in our little romance. The world is 
always kind to unassuming love, and we took no pains to 
conceal ours. 

Ryalmont was gayer than it liad been for years. Of- 
ficers from the garrisoji and friends from the city came to 
see us often. My mother almost forgot her soi'row in 
duties especially congenial to her nature. Peace had come ; 
prosperity had begun, and fortune would soon follow. 80 
the hours flew by with amazing swiftness. When I met 
General Fairbanks as lie alighted drijjping and sleety at our 
door, it seemed but a few Aveeks since I had seen him 
riding thi-ough the valley, witli his white Panama hat 
pressed down over his eyes to exclude the sunshine. He had 
come for the daughter wlio was already domesticated in 
our hillside home. Would tliis grey-bearded, firm-lipped 
soldier approve his daughter's choice, or was my brief 
dream of love already over — killed by the frosts of a single 
winter ? 

General Fairbanks was a successful manufacturer, whom 
the war had transformed into a soldier. The regiment 
which he recruited was equipped at his own expense. He was 
made its colonel, not a little against his inclination, and in 
this position had sliown an aptitude for war liardly inferior 
to the ability displayed in his private affairs. While he 
fought his business had reaped advantage from enhanced 


prices, which more than compensated him for the sacrifices 
he had made. He was justly regarded as a fine type of 
his people — earnest, brave and honest ; but above every- 
thing else enterprising and successful. He was somewhat 
past middle life, and, save the dowry which his wife 
brought, his fortune was due entirely to his own energies. 

He was a splendid specimen of physical manhood. In 
height I stood above him a hand's breadth, but, as I 
greeted him upon the porch, I felt myself a pigmy beside 
him. He was not large even for his height, but there was 
an air of power about him as he sprang from his horse, and 
mounted the steps in the pelting storm, careless of its 
force — not as if seeking shelter, but as if the storm was 
only an unpleasant fact, not to be seriously regarded by one 
having a man's work to perform. 

It is chiefly in this truly regal scorn of material obsta- 
cles and their irrepressible desire for accomplishing what- 
ever they undertake that the people of the North are our su- 
periors. The rage for achievement is so universal with them 
that they have ever the air of facing difficulties which must 
be overcome witiiout delay. They appear always to be going 
up hill. They are almost universally given to talking of 
what they are doing or about to do. Our people, in ex- 
changing greetings, ask after one another's families with 
pai'ticularity. A Northern man's first inquiry of his fel- 
low is as to his business. It is not so much self-asser- 
tion — for they are really a modest people, more given to 


doing than to boasting — but rather the natural result of an 
approved confidence in individual power. 

In dealing with material problems, and especially in 
individual capacity and self-reliance, the Yankees are un- 
rivalled by any people in history. They have skill to de- 
vise, courage to undertake, and fortitude to perform all 
that is possible and many things that seem impossible. As 
business men they are the most enterprising and dauntless 
that the world has ever known. They have no distrust of 
their own conclusions, and no fear of unforseen contingen- 
cies. Strange' as it may seem, the same influences have 
developed a people collectively the weakest and politically 
the most truckling, whimsical and unstable, that ever 
held the reins of power. Individual self-reliance seems so 
prodigiously developed that confidence in public integrity, 
wisdom and official unselfishness, has become impossible. 
They are not. in fact, a people at all, but a mere aggrega- 
tion of units, having only one thing in common — an un- 
doubting confidence, each in his OAvn inteJlectual conclu- 
sions, and an almost equally impregnable conviction in the 
sharpness, selfishness and lack of principle of the others. 
Confidence in himself makes each one bold in the assertion 
and maintenance of his own ideas. Distrust of his fel- 
lows makes him chary of boasting, but hinders continued 
harmonious action. The result of these qualities is a peo- 
ple self-reliant, but not self-assertive ; individually opinion- 
ated and contentious, but weak, throufrh want of unitv ; 


with a strong pride m their business capacity, but a lax 
instinct of personal honor. The power to outbid one's 
fellows in the legal tender of the land is the highest ob- 
ject of ambition, and the capacity to rise from poverty or 
mere comfort to the rank of the millionaire is the crucial 
test of merit. And well it may be, for with them the ladder 
of fame has always golden rounds. The decimal point and 
the dollar mark determine all values. With millions, there 
is no honor or dignity that one may not achieve. Without 
them he is powerless — socially and politically a cipher. 
The golden key unlocks for him the door of privilege. 
Money hides disgrace and glorifies crime. No life is too 
shameful to bar the gambler or the pugilist from the halls 
of CongTess, if he is but free-handed enough to pave his 
way with coin. The doors of the Senate work on golden 
hinges, and the dollar is the unit by which civic rank and 
patriotic merit are estimated. 

I note these facts without any thought of condem- 
nation. They are not altogether pleasant to me, and 
are especially inharmonious with our Southern ideal, in 
which honor is not measured by the balance-sheet nor 
patriotism estimated by Troy weight. They may be unavoid- 
able in a more advanced state of societ}^ and under the 
peculiar influences of modern civilization. As to this, I 
cannot say. I am willing to admit that the results are in 
many respects remarkable, and that the men it produces in- 


stead of being altogether ignoble are oft times among the 
most magnificent specimens of Anglo-Saxon manhood. 

8uch an one was Ambi-ose Wilson Fairbanks, Major 
General in the Volunteer army of the United States, one of 
the wealthiest manufacturers of the East, who had risen 
from the humblest rank of life to the highest civic and 
military honors by the golden ladder of business success, 
when he became my guest at Ryalmont. I say " my guest,'' 
for in these few months 1 had come to be the head of the 
house, according to that inflexible Salic law of our Southern 
life. My father's absence for so long a time had made this 
transition all the more easy when it came. This fact pre- 
vented me from being overwhelmed v/ith a sense of insig- 
nificance in the presence of this man who, unaided and 
alone, had won his Avay to distiuction in the two arenas 
where the fight of life is hottest and the manhood of the 
combatant most severely tested — war and trade. As his 
host I was his equal, and forgot my callowness in the duty 
thus imposed upon me. 

After tlie plain yet abundant dinner, we retired to this 
room for our post-prandial cigars. According to our 
Southern country custom it was guest-chamber and smok- 
ing room in one. A " light- wood " fire burned brightly on 
the hearth, giving it an air of luxurious comfort that noth- 
ing else can bestow. With much misgiving I told him of 
my love and hope, briefly and awkwardly no doubt. He 
was evidently not uninformed of what had happened, yet 


his self-control was not sufficient to hide the excitement 
its recital brought. He grew pale to the very edge of the 
clear-cut lips that showed close-shut across the parting of 
his moustache. His cool, gray eyes gazed almost fiercely 
into mine. The muscles of his face, however, were too 
thoroughly under control to betray emotion. The smoke 
came from his cigar in even, annular waves, and floated 
steadily upward in the firelight. I was surprised at what 
I saw, but only thought how dearly he must love his daugh- 
ter to be so moved at what concerned her future, and my 
heart went out to him in reverence. His agitation gave 
me confidence, and I said, no doubt, more than the occasion 

He did not interrupt my communication by word or 
gesture. When I had blundered to an end there was a mo- 
ment's silence, j ust enough to impress me with the fact that 
he did not answer at once. The struggle with the world 
had taught this simple, straight-forward man to use the 
weapons of silence and composure with exquisite skill in 
his intercourse with men. It was as if he knew himself to 
be powerless, if he let the enemy come within his defences, 
that he stood thus on guard upon the on ter walls. I knew 
before he had spoken a word that he did not altogether ap- 
prove my suit. 

Edith had told me little about her father. She was 
his idol, her mother having long been dead. It seemed not 
to have crossed her mind that lie could ever contravene her 


wishes. Once when I intimated a doubt of his approval, 
stating my inexperience and lack, not merely of achieve- 
ment biit of preparation, she had responded gaily that 
with such a father as mine I liad no need to have a certifi- 
cate of merit ; and as for her papa, she was sure he was too 
grateful to tlie man who had saved his daughter's life to 
refuse to admit him to a partnership in her love. So we 
had talked it all over, and settled the immediate future 
almost without consideration of this potent factor — this 
man that now sat across the table from me, the firelight 
shining on the gold buttons of liis bull vest, and showing 
the dark braid upon the sleeve of his undress coat, which 
was the only hint of rank he wore. Xo one could doubt 
his love for the daughter, but I felt he was about to inter- 
vene to save her fi-om what he deemed lier folly. I could 
not say I thought him in the wrong. 

"You are young, Mr. Oweu," he said at length. 

Tlie tone coutirmed my impression. It gave tlie words 
a sting that cannot be here expressed. Yet I was not angry. 
He had the right to question and also to disapprove. I 
owed him respect and complaisance in the exercise of this 

So I answered quietly- : ,' 

" A little past nineteen, sir.^' 

" Indeed ! " he ejaculated in surprise. I was evidently 
younger than he had supposed. " Hardly older than 
Edith,'' he added. 


'' Two years and two months, sir/' 

*' Ah," he said, as a smile of wonderful sweetness came 
over his face, warming its color and softening its outlines. 
"■ You have evidently been comparing notes ! " 


"And you have settled everything to your mutual 
liking, I suppose ? " 

" Subject to your approval, sir." 

" Oh, of course," with a careless wave of the hand. 

*' You know, doubtless, that Edith has an ample for- 
tune in her own right as well as her expectancy from me ?'' 

So he thought I was after his daughter's money ! I 
could not suppress a smile at the idea. Yet what else 
could I expect ? Was not he a successful Yankee, and I 
the impoverished son of a Confederate soldier, whose 
estate, at the best, had been insignificant ? I was half- 
amused and half-provoked that I had not anticipated this. 
So I answered lightly, but perhaps a little proudly : 

"I suppose I must have known that you were 
wealthy. I heard the attendant in the hospital say you 
equipped your regiment. Of course, that implies wealth. 
I have heard your daughter speak of your Mill. What 
sort of a mill I never asked nor cared. As to your wealth 
or hers, I am sure I never gave it a thought. Perhaps I 
ought to have inferred it from your rank." 

" Hardly," he replied, with a tone of amused sarcasm. 
His eyes lost a trifle of their harshness as he continued : 


" You have enough to live upon, I suppose ? " 

'* I am ray father's lieir, and will some time be my 
mother's, too." 

" And your father left—? " 

" This plantation, the few books your soldiers spared, 
and his name. " 

" Of which you jirize most highly the latter I sup- 
pose ? " 

*' Certainly, sir ; I am very proud of that/' 

" And you are quite right to be so," he responded 
with a heartiness that surprised me. After a moment he 
added : " This plantation, 1 take it, is not a very valuable 

**I suppose it would yield a fair living," I answered 
seriously, '* and, supplemented by what 1 expect to earn, 
would be enough." 

" Spoken like a man, Mr. Owen ; spoken like a man ;" 
said he, approvingly. His earnestness confused me. As 
long as he remained the cool, calculating guardian of his 
wealth I understood him, or thought I did ; but when he 
spoke in this manner he took me at a disadvantage. So I 
began to distrust him when he said in tones of marked 
kindness : 

" And now about yourself. What do you intend to do ?" 

Was he about to yield ? My hope revived. 

I told him that I proposed to complete my education, 
and afterwards adopt my father's profession. 


" And this will take—" 

*' Three or four years." 

'^ And you are willing to wait ?" 

" Of course," said I indignantly. '' You do not sup- 
pose I would think of marrying your daughter until I was 
able to support her properly ?" 

"No matter what I supposed ; I am glad of your as- 
surance to the contrary." Then he turned and looked 
thonghtf ully into the fire. I could not understand him, so I 
said : 

" I hope you believe what I say, General Fairbanks." 

"Every word of it, sir," he answered, looking me 
squarely in the face. "I believe that you love ray 
daughter for her own sake, and would loyally love and 
maintain her if she had not a friend or a penny in the 

What did he mean, this hard, practical man ? I 
could not make him out. I wished to thank him, but I 
felt sure that there was to be an unpleasant sequel. So I 
remained silent. 

"And Edith," he asked, after awhile. "Is she con- 
tent with this i^rospect of love in a cottage ? That is what 
you term such rosy expectations, is it not, Mr. Owen ?" 

He spoke with a smile, but his words galled me. 

" Perhaps you had better ask her," I replied, rather 

"Of course, I intend to do that," he responded in a 

180 EIGIITY.Nl NE . 

matter-of-fact tone. ' ' I shall have to talk it over with your 
mother, too. Perhaps the best way will be for us to con- 
sider it all together — a sort of council of war." 

" Nothing could please me better," I replied. " Shall 
we call them ? " 

I rose as I spoke and threw my cigar into the fire. I 
had hardly smoked it at all, and noticed that the one my- 
companion held had gone out. It struck me as peculiar, 
for I remembered to have heard that, no matter how hot 
tlie battle raged, General Fairbanks's cigar was always 

*' Not just yet," said he, with a gesture towards my 
chair. ** I have something to say to you first, which may 
perhaps render further consideration of this matter un- 

I seated myself and waited. He sat so long looking 
intently into the fire that I concluded he had forgotten my 
presence. All at once it occurred to me that he was about 
to object because of my southern birth and Confederate 
affinity. I knew that the strongest impulse of his nature 
was patriotism. I knew also, that he represented the very 
extreme of northern thought. All at once the difference 
between his views and mine, the great gulf which separated 
the two peoples, yawned before me. I wondered that I 
had not thought of it before, but though I could well 
understand how a Southern father might object to his 
daugliter's marriage with a Yankee, it had never occurred 


to me that the same objection, or even a greater, might 
exist against a southern suitor in the mind of a northern 
parent. The thought made rae angry and defiant. 

''Perhaps you object to me, sir, because of my south- 
ern birth — because of the Confederate cause with which my 
name is forever linked by my father's fame ? " 

He turned towards me, with a pitying smile upon 
his lips and a twinkle in his eyes. I noted then for the 
first time that his lids were heavy and he seemed to have a 
worn and anxious look. 

" We do not carry politics or religion into our social 
relations," he said. ''I do not deny that I would rather 
Edith had chosen one of our own i:)eople, I do not share 
the admiration which so many have for Southern life and 
character. It is well enough in its way, but entirely differ- 
ent from ours. That, however, is for her to consider. All 
I can do is to insist that she shall have time, opportunity 
and freedom to decide, and not be bound by any bond 
or pledge, prematurely given." 

" I will not conceal from you," he said, as he rose and 
paced back and forth in evident anxiety, " that there are 
grave reasons why she should not at present engage herself 
to any one. Of these she will be fully informed. In a 
sense, Mr. Owen, I am not romantic, but I can never for- 
get that you saved my daughter's life and by virtue of that 
fact have a claim on her love and my regard which no other 
man can have. If she finds you worthy, I have no right or 


inclination to object. I shall only require that you leave 
her free to determine, at any time, exactly what shall be 
your future relations, and I assure you, sir, that whenever 
she may decide that her happiness will be subserved by 
uniting her destiny with yours, I shall most heartily ap- 
j)rove. A son of General Owen, who reveres his father's 
memory and has shown the spirit you have manifested, is 
worthy of alliance with any American family. As for the 
difference of sentiment existing between us, I am willing 
to trust to time to teach you "that your father was wrong. 
That is all there is of the matter, anyhow. To my think- 
ing the difference is merely fanciful, and I believe the war 
to have been unnecessary, if not foolish. In time you will 
no doubt arrive at the same conclusion." 

How his careless words and dispassionate manner stung 
me ! Could it be possible that I should ever fall so low as 
to admit that the father whose memory I Avorshiped had 
been wrong ? Was that the condition precedent of my 
happiness ? If so, I determined to elect disappointment and 
misery instead. 

Meantime General Fairbanks went on : 

''I should be glad to show my confidence in your 
father's son by informing you of the nature of my objection 
to a present engagement, but I am not at liberty to do so. 
This I will say : I have never contravened my daughter's 
wish in any matter where her happiness was at stake, and 
shall not do so now. The decision will be hers." 


" Indeed," said lie, as he paused before me and ex- 
tended his hand, " I sincerely wish that the obstacles were 
swept away and that you and Edith were ready to com- 
mence life in this pleasant mountain home with your cour- 
age and her faith as the sole capital of your life venture." 

I forgave him even this mercantile simile as I felt the 
earnest clasp of a hand as strong as my own. 

" But you must remember, sir, that we have not at 
all times control of our own acts. You yourself are not 
yet ready for the happiness you desire. Some years must 
elapse before you can think of marriage. What may hap- 
pen in the meantime we do not know. The obstacle that 
now exists may possibly be removed. Thank Grod, it is not 
absolutely insurmountable, and if my daughter's happiness 
depends upon my overcoming it no effort on my part shall 
be wanting. In these years you may change — I know," he 
said, anticipating tlie denial that sprang to my lips, " I 
know you do not think so. But you are young. So is 
Edith. The next few years will bring much experience to 
you both. I shall put no restriction on your intercourse. 
In fact, I should prefer that it continue. I hope to see 
you often in our home and trust we may again be your 
guests. It is only fair that I should tell you that I have 
resigned my commission in the army and am on my way 
home. My place is but an hour's ride from the college you 
are to attend, and we shall be glad to have you and your 
mother make it your home as often as you desire during 


your course. Edith has written ine about the matter and 
I heartily approve. Are you wilhng to leave things thus 
deemed advisable to modify your relations ? You must 
in abeyance until she comes of age or it is mutually 
remember that I act as guardian as well as parent." 

I was not williug. What lover was ever willing to 
prolong incertitude as to his fate ? This he no doubt saw, 
for he added : 

" I mean, of course, if Edith approve what I suggest ?" 

AVhat lover ever dare refuse to submit to such arbitra- 
ment ? I bowed assent. He shook my hand warmly and 
said heartily : 

"Thank you!" 

I thought his voice was husky, but it was clear enough 
a moment after when, having relighted his cigar, he said : 

** Well then, that is settled. Now please seiicl Edith 
to me for a few moments, and come yourself after a time 
with your mother, whom you will, of course, inform as to 
the purport of our conversation. I doubt not she will ap- 
prove what I have done." 

I found Edith and my mother in the sitting-room. 
They sat together on the rug before the fire, my mother 
holding the young girl in her arms. The widow's weeds 
contrasted well with the bright maidenly attire of the girl, 
and my mother's fair matronly face with its massy coil of 
golden hair detracted nothing from the classic outlines of 
the delicate head that lay upon her bosom. The firelight 


formed an aureole of fitting and peculiar radiance about 
them. I thought I had never seen so fair a picture. 

Edith raised her head and turned a flushed face full of 
tender inquiry towards me as I delivered my message. She 
was evidently surprised — almost alarmed — but rose and 
went to her father without remark. I sat down and told 
my mother what had occurred. She leaned her head upon 
my knee and turned her soft, sweet face towards me as she 
listened. When I had concluded she sat awhile in thought. 
Then she said : 

" He is right, my son. Do not be cast down. He is 
a good man — a good man, Ryal, and you may trust him." 

Presently there was a rustle behind us. Edith stood 
in the doorway. The darkness of the passage behind seemed 
to enfold her as if dragging her away. Her face was clouded, 
too. I could not see her eyes, but thought there must be 
tears in them. She held a handkerchief to her lips and her 
voice trembled as she said : 

" If you — please — my father — is waiting." 

I assisted my mother to rise, and we followed to her 
father's room. 


When we entered Edith was ah-eady seated on a low 
ottoman, her face turned half away from the firelight, one 
hand resting in her father's, her head leaning upon the 
other, which still held her handkerchief. Her figure drooped 
and she seemed suddenly to have grown old. It was evi- 
dent that some fact of a serious nature had come into her 
consciousness since she had responded to her father's re- 
({uest. I felt in an instant that I had dropped out of her 
life, at least as a controlling factor. Thereafter I might 
be first in her love, but her father's wish would shape her 
destiny. An hour before, my love had been supreme in her 
heart ; now I knew it to be subordinated to a sentiment so 
absorbing and intense that the very thought of love seemed 
to have been obliterated. 

A pang of jealousy shot through my heart as I realized 
how completely I had been supplanted in her thought. In 
an instant, however, this feeling was changed to one of in- 
finite pity for the drooping figure on the hassock as she 
gazed up into her father's face with such completeness of 
self-immolation. I loved her not less but more, and knew 
that henceforth I must always be the willing slave of that 
love. I might be nothing to her, but she must be every- 
thing to me. I knew better than ever before that she was 



mine ; mine, not perhaps to have and to hold^ but mine to 
love and trust to the end. 

So my little romance was over. The love I had won 
by accident had been blighted by fate. The hate which 
had turned to love, revenged itself upon mo by demanding 
all and promising nothing in return. 

The general received us courteously. When we were 
seated he said, addressing my mother : 

'' I suppose there is no need of explanation ? " 

''None at all, General," she answered, with the fine 
tact that always marked her words. •'■' My son has to make 
his own way in the world, and while I cannot blame him 
for loving Edith, I think an engagement should not be 
thought of until his prospects are more definite than at 

" No doubt," he answered, with his businesslike air. 
'' But my course was not determined by any such consider- 
ation. My daughter's happiness is mine, and no pruden- 
tial consideration could induce mc to thwart her desire. I 
regret that I am unable to sjieak more frankly of the real 
motive of my conduct." 

" It is quite unnecessary," said ray mother ; '' we are 
sure it must be a good one, and are greatly obliged to you 
for informing us that it has nothing to do with the unfor- 
tunate events of the last few years. I am certain that if 
my husband had lived he would have been foremost in every 
endeavor to restore harmony to our distracted country. It 


is for tliis reason^ chiefly, that I am anxious that my son's 
education should be completed at the North. I would not 
have him cease to be a Southern man, but I think the peo- 
ple on both sides should try to understand each other and 
join hands in the endeavor to hold the country together and 
prevent any recurrence of the horrors of the past four 

There were tears in my mother's eyes and her voice 
choked as she ceased speaking. 1 was surprised that one of 
her domestic inclination should express such decided views 
upon public matters. It was hardly strange, however. The 
people of the South thought of little else at that time, and 
the mothers Avere very often wiser than the sons. There 
was a look of positive admiration in the general's eyes as he 
listened to her words, and at the conclusion he said : 

'*If everybody were as sensible as you. Mrs. Owen, we 
should soon forget all that has happened." 

She glanced at her mourning gown and to^^ched it al- 
most unconsciously, smoothing down a recreant fold. He 
perceived his error, and flushed deeply as he added : 

"^'I mean, of course, in a public sense. The dead — of 
course — " 

Here he broke down (!ompletely and my mother, ap- 
parently answering his thought rather than his word, 
echoed : 

" Of course." 

After a moment's silence he said : 


" There is another matter of interest to you which mnst 
now be attended to as I am compelled to leave on my way 
North to-morrow morning. While I should have been 
loath to go without congratulating your son upon his re- 
covery and testifying again my gratitude for the gallant 
act which left me one thing in life to cling to, yet I would 
hardly have delayed my journey even for a day, had it not 
been for a duty enjoined upon me under peculiar circum- 
stances, which I may have no other opportunity to per- 

''I am not generally superstitious, but you will hardly 
wonder that I was somewhat startled at what has occurred, 
when I tell you that my chief reason for accepting my re- 
cent command was a desire to find one Eyal Owen.'^ 

Our surprise at this announcement could not have 
been greater than that which showed itself in Edith's coun- 
tenance. Her father noticed it and said with a smile : 

"Edith never heard your name, Mr. Owen, until you 
had saved her from peril ; but I had been hunting you for 
months, little dreaming what your discovery might cost me 
— not tliat I should be entirely the loser by the proposed 

Even in matters of the heart the Yankee instinct was 
uppermost, and the simile he used Avas drawn from the 
conflicts of the arena in which he had first won distinction. 
My mother smiled at this somewhat awkward attempt at 

190 EtanTY-KINE. 

gaiety, aud tlie matter-of-fact soldier relapsing into hid 
usual tone, continued his narrative : 

"1 do not know why I never spoke to her of it, un- 
less it be that reticence has become almost second nature 
to me. The fact is, I entered upon this quest at the 
special request of General Godson Owen. 

" You are surprised at this, and will be more so when 
you know how curiously I was baffled in my search. Know- 
ing Edith's romantic desire to restore your father's horse to 
the family of his gallant owner, I thought to give her a 
})lcasant surprise as well as i)erform a duty incumbent upon 
me by finding you witliout her knowledge. 80 I souglit 
for you far and near, and had just learned that you were 
home were in ihis region when fate brought us into such 
strange rehitions. 

" You wonder how I came to know of your existence 
or to have any desire to find you out ? It is not a pleasant 
story. You are aware, madam, that I commanded tlie 
troops against which your husband led his division in that 
last hopeless charge. I was standing on the ridge along the 
side of which my skirmishers were advancing in a pretty 
strong line, driving the enemy — the Confederates, you un- 
derstand — before them. We all knew that the end could 
not be very far off, and I think every one felt a thrill of 
horror at every shot that was fired and every life that was 
thus needlessly sacrificed. For tliree days there had been 
no hope for Lee's army. Indeed, when he left the works 


around Petersbiii'g there was no longer any reasonable hope. 
For two days his retreat had been a continued series of use- 
less encounters to gain an hour's time in order to enable the 
commander and a fragment of his army to escape immediate 
capture. I do not wish to be harsh, but to my mind every 
life that was lost after Lee found himself forced to retreat 
in the face of overwhelming odds, with one sj^lendidly ap- 
pointed army upon his track and another on his flank, was 
simply a sacrifice to unholy ambition. So we pursued 
the shattered army and slew those who would not yield. 
AVe pressed them hard — it was a mercy to force the end — 
yet it was sickening work. 

" I was saying something of this kind to my staff, 
when I saw General Owen come out of the woods in front 
of my line with his hat on the point of his sword. He did 
not once look back, but, facing squarely to the front, rode 
towards our skirmishers, his men pressing close after him 
with loud huzzas. It was a useless though heroic effort. 
My heart turned sick as I gave the orders that would de- 
stroy the gallant little band. They had pressed the skir- 
mishers back upon the main line when a dozen cannon and 
ten thousand muskets poured death into their ranks. They 
wavered an instant and then fled — all that were left of 
them — across the creek to join again the toiling ranks of 
the fleeing army." 

My mother was weeping silently. Edith stole across 


the room and, taking a seat beside her, drew her head upon 
her shoulder. Her father glanced at them aj^provingly. 

'' I saw your husband when he fell. Somehow I felt 
irresistibly attracted by his gallantry. In a moment I was 
beside him. Some of my men had already laid him by a 
blossoming thornbush on the road side. He was dead — was 
probably dead before he fell from the saddle. His horse, 
badly wounded, stood by him neighing piteously. I ordered 
the body to be buried by the thornbush where it lay, hav- 
having ascertained his name by papers in his possession. 
The saber, which he still held in his stiffening grasp, and 
some other mementoes I took charge of, hoping some time 
to transmit them to his family. The glove he wore was 
taken from his riglit hand and a case found in an inner 
]30cket placed within it. He sleeps with the image of his 
loved ones on his breast, madam, and it only remains for 
me to hand you these mementoes of as brave a soldier as 
ever wore a sword." 

General Fairbanks went to the bed, on which lay a 
package, which his orderly had brought, and, returning, 
placed a sword, a pair of spurs and a soiled gauntlet in my 
mother's lap. 

"And these," he added, turning to me, "you will see 
I give into your hands according to your father's request. 
His directions misled me, and your unfortunate accident 
induced me to wait until all apprehension of harm from the 


excitement necessarily attending the revival of such sad 
memories should be passed." 

I received from this strange messenger of the dead a 
small leather-covered volume tied with a string, and a large 
official envelope, bearing the imprint of the division my 
father had commanded, and directed in his hand : 

"To my son, Ryal Owen, supposed to be living near 
Oconee, Georgia. In case of my death, the Under of this 
will please deliver, if possible with his own hand ; if not, 
then by the most certain method that may offer. Signed, 


There was a long silence. My mother wept and kissed 
the dear relics again and again. We both endeavored to 
thank the brusque soldier who had so kindly remembered 
the f&mily of his foe, but he waved aside our gratitude and 
turned quickly away to conceal the tears that filled his eyes. 

From that hour I never questioned the motives of 
Ambrose Fairbanks. Fate had made him my father's em- 
bassador ; and his character was sacred to those to whom 
he came thus strangely accredited. 

After a time I untied the string and glanced along the 
jjages of my father's diary — the record of his thoughts dur- 
ing those final days of struggle. Each year he had sent us 
one of these priceless mementoes of his love. Then I 
looked at the envelope made of the coarse, yellowish paper 
which was the only kind we had within the limits of the 


Confederacy. Mechanically I broke the seal imtl foinul 
within another. I took it out and read aloud this super- 
scription • 

** To my son, Ryal Owen : 

If you are yet unmarried on your twenty -third birth- 
day, I desire that you will open this on that day and read 
its contents. Should you decide to marry previous to that 
time, I request that you will burn this unopened. 

"' Godson Owen." 

" Bless me, what a strange thing ! " exclaimed my 
mother, forgetting her grief in the wonder and awe which 
this injunction inspired. *'It really frightens one to 

She stopped and glanced from one to another as if she 
had said too much. 

There was a long silence. Each was conscious of the 
other's tJiought. Then Edith rose and coming softly to 
my side held out her hand and said : 

''Will you give me that letter to keep for you ?" 

I glanced at her father. He nodded approval and I 
placed it in her hand. She clasped it to her bosom and re- 
mained standing beside me. 

" Ryal," she said. I rose and stood beside her. She 
looked up into my eyes. There was the same beseeching 
look in hers that I remembered when she looked down 
upon me from the back of the flying steed. " Ryal," she 


repeated, '' the life you saved will always be yours, happen 
what may." 

I looked towards her father, anxious not to seem to 
break my pledge. His look did not forbid. I took her in 
my arms and kissed her lips. 

" Command me," I said, " and I will obey. "Whether 
as lover, friend or servant, it matters not — " 

" Nay/' said she gently interrupting, with her hand 
upon my lips. '"Be my knight to do whatever honor re- 
quires, in my name." 

Before one eould guess her intention slie had released 
herself from my embrace, taken the sv/ord from my mother's 
lap, drawn the polished blade from the worn scabbard, and 
turned toward me with it upraised. I do not know why, 
but I knelt before her. She touched me lightly on the 
shoulder, presented the golden hilt with the one silver star 
upon the cross, and I pressed it to my lips with as much 
consecrating fervor as any knight of chivalry ever felt. 

It was a curious scene for this matter-of-fact age, but 
somehow none of those present seemed to think it out of 
place, and even as I write of it now, it does not seem alto- 
gether absurd. Many a knight has kissed that jeweled hilt 
since then and I — I have fulfilled my vow. 


Little need bo said of the years that followed. My 
life was that of the ordinary college student, only for me 
tlie college was situated in a new world. It was the first 
glimpse of what I had hitherto only dreamed of as " the 
Xorth." To me i^ had only been the antipode of the 
South — my South — 7ny home — my country, whose aspira- 
tions, woes and prejudices were part and parcel of my life. 
This life I brought with me — its defiance, scorn, almost 
contempt, of all that differed from it. The misfortunes of 
my people, the injustice they had suffered, the losses they 
had endured — all these were in my mind when I came into 
the enemy's country to fit myself to satisfy my mother's 
ambition and win the fairest daughter of our hereditary 
foes. I realize now what a strange compound of arrogance, 
suspicion, self-conceit and romantic aspiration it was that 
came up from the Southern battle-fields and knocked at 
the portals of the Northern college. 

There was no question about my ability to matriculate. 
Fortunately my training had been thorough if somewhat 
fragmentary. I had, too, something of my father's aptitude 
for acquirement as well as his stubborn resolution to 

I hardly know when the awakening came. Little by 



little my preconceptions were destroyed. I sought in vain 
for my ideals. I could not find among the jDeople I so 
thoroughly disliked the attributes on which my antipathy 
was founded. At first, I counted those whom I met excep- 
tions, as I had already decided Edith and her father to be, 
to the general life from which they sprang. As these 
"exceptions" multiplied I began to doubt, and long before 
my course was ended I had abandoned my former preju- 
dices, concluded that it was mere ignorance of each other's 
inclinations that kept the South and the North apart, and 
wondered that this misconception should have culminated 
in war quite as devoutly as I had previously questioned how 
it could ever subside into peace. 

Of course, I still thought the fault and the offense were 
on the part of the N"orth, but I wondered greatly how such 
a good-natured, kindly, tolerant people could have been so 
misled and corrupted by demagogues and zealots. I 
regretted most sincerely that there was not a full and per- 
fect mutual understanding and comprehension of motives 
and sentiments on the part of the people of the two sections. 
I was sure that nothing more was necessary to secure the 
most perfect and complete accord. That was what I said, 
and what I thought I felt. The fact is, I only thought of 
a one-sided tolerance and appreciation, not a mutual one. I 
wished the people of the North might understand the 
motives and impulses of the people of the South. Then, I 
was sure, they would realize how much they had unwittingly 


■wronged them ; and then, I was confident, our people would 
forgive them fully, and after that there could only be har- 

To the other side of the matter I gave little thought. 
It never occurred to me that it was equally desirable that 
the people of the South should learn to understand and ap- 
preciate the people of the North. I do not remember once 
to have considered the question whether the wrong and the 
folly might not have been on their side. I did sometimes 
wish our people might understand that the Yankees 
were much better fellows than our fancy had painted them 
--here at home, at least. I even wished that some of them 
— a good many of the richest and brightest and most enter- 
prising — might go to the South with money and skill and 
transform our almost barren wastes into fruitful fields and 
centers of prosperous industry. I dreamed the dream, 
which comes to every Southern man of intelligence and pa- 
triotism, of a South built up and enriched by the munifi- 
cence, thrift and energy of her conquerors. I saw her mines, 
her forests and her waterways made tributary to the demands 
of commerce, and her people enriched by the sale of their 
possessions to the stranger. But it never once occurred to 
me that the stranger would naturally seek to become a con- 
stituent and distinctive element of our society, that he 
might desire to change its characteristics, or that the energy 
and enterprise I so greatly admired were the results of essen- 
tially different conditions, and must of necessity demand 


and require great modifications of our Southern life. It 
seemed to me a very simple matter, if the Northern people 
could only be made to understand its simplicity. 

Perhaps my views on this subject were modified, not 
only by the surroundings of my daily life on the campus 
and in the class-room, but also by two events which sepa- 
rated me still more from the common lot of my country- 
men. It was scarcely a year after my departure that The 
Grove was sold. As I have said, the family seat was at 
Ryalmont. There all our sweetest memories and fondest 
associations seemed to have centered. I did not conq^i'e- 
hend the reason then. It is plain enough now that my 
father was never really at home at The Grove. The pro- 
ductive, well-ordered plantation did not comjDensate him 
for the picturesque beauty of the mountain farm. My 
mother must have realized this, so that her heart turned 
instinctively to Ryalmont as the real home of the husband 
whose memory she cherished. 

After the camp was discontinued and the entire plan- 
tation at The Grove reverted to my mother's possession, 
we found a considerable portion of it occupied by those 
half-unconscious trespassers, the newly-made freedmen. 
They had naturally gathered about the camp, and by some 
means or other had contrived to build not a few of those 
little huts which were the first refuge of the freedman, 
fleeing with a sort of undefined dread from the scene of 
his servitude, as if freedom was to him an incredible fact 


until he had actually tested his own power to contravene 
the wish of his former master. 

This little cluster of huts had grown into quite a vil- 
lage, and it was evident that u colored colony, such as is 
always found upon one side or another of every Southern 
city, had pitched upon our old plantation as the chosen 
site for the freedmen's suhurb of the city it adjoined. 
In that chaotic time no attempt was made at their expul- 
sion. The law was yet dormant after tlie clash of arms. 
Christopher cultivated the bottoms and exacted from the oc- 
cupants of the huts upon the hills an uncertain rental, which, 
though but a slight tax upon each, added materially to 
our revenue. Many of them inspired by a curious sense of 
the dignity attaching to the ownership of land, very soon 
desired to purchase the lots they occupied by virtue of a 
sort of squatter sovereignty. 

Perhaps it was these circumstances that led eventually 
to its alienation. However that may be, it was sold to a 
wealthy Northern philanthropist, who selected it, I think, 
not a little through the influence of General Fairbanks, as 
the location of an educational institution he proposed to 
build for the use of the colored people. No more fitting 
site could have been chosen. Overlooking the thriving 
town and the fertile valley, it was the ideal location for a 

Neither my mother nor myself at that time had any 
sympathy with the use for which it was intended. In the 


freedmen, as a self -directing race, we had no interest, and 
indeed, no thought for them except a sort of contemptuous 
pity. Our chief feeling in regard to the transaction was 
that it only completed the desecration begun by the Yankee 
army ; and as we did not wish to live at The Grove, we 
saw no reason why it should not be sold, especially as the 
price offered was a liberal one. I learned afterwards to 
respect the motives of those engaged in the work of edu- 
cating the freedmen. I did not then deem it possible that 
they could ever become an important element of our civili- 
zation, and thought the attempt to educate them only a 
harmless continuation of the Northern crusade for their 

So I was glad the plantation was sold. Its possession 
served only to keep alive the one memory of the past which 
I could not forgive. I never thought of it without seeing 
my mother and little sister fleeing half-clothed into the 
darkness, Avhile the flame lighted up the surging cohimn 
of sooty vapor that rolled upward from the blazing roof- 
tree. Then Avould come the memory of the torrents pour- 
ing down upon us, of the slippery, crowded roads, the fright- 
ened women and fainting children, the hot, quick breath of 
the little sister that lay in my arms as we trudged through 
the darkness. So, though I had all the Southern fondness 
for land, I was glad to part with the plantation and espe- 
cially glad of the relief from care which the transaction 
brought to my mother. I have since felt a tinge of regret 


that a stranger's name is linked with the old home in the 
relation it must bear to the future of a race. Historically, 
it is an enduring monument of a wisdom and beneficence 
we were not then ready to appreciate. 

To my mother this sale opened the door of a new life. 
It lifted her not only above want but even above the neces- 
sity of irksome economy. We were richer in comparison 
with our neighbors than ever before. The income of 
the amount realized by the sale together with the rental of 
Ryalmont was enough for our modest wants and a sufficient 
surplus for our holidays. 

I have alluded before to my mother's personal charms, 
but I never realized until that time what a tender effulgence 
her beauty cast about her. She was still young and there 
was no little of loverlike adoration in my regard for her. 
After the sale she spent little time at Ryalmont. Every 
autumn she returned to collect the rents, which, of course, 
were paid "in kind,'' and to make arrangements for the 
following year. The remainder of the time she spent at 
the North — the greater portion of it with Edith Fairbanks. 
Somehow there was a peculiar harmony between the fair- 
haired Southern woman, with her blue eyes and soft, trans- 
parent complexion, and the dark, slender Northern maiden, 
who was the very ideal of that conventional beauty which, 
with curious inaccuracy, has been made the type of South- 
ern loveliness. They were almost inseparable. 

General Fairbanks' residence, " Sagamo Lodge," as he 


had humorously named it, was hardly an hour's ride from 
the college I attended. It stood upon the banks of a 
beautiful river with the blue waters of the Sound in sight 
from its upper windows. A mile away was the little village 
which had grown up about his mills — a model village in a 
community where more attention is given to the questions 
attending industrial association than in any other part of 
the world. ' The banks of the stream and the wooded 
eminences far and near were crowned with the elegant and 
sometimes palatial residences of the princes of the great 
metropolis of trade, which lay within easy reach. Between 
the families of the owners there subsisted a sort of baronial 
courtesy, resting rather upon the fact of commercial solidity 
than similarity of tastes and character. They were of all 
sorts and classes, gathered from all parts of the country 
and some from other lands ; but they were all rich — some 
of them lavishly and luxuriously, as the good American 
loves to be in attestation of his success, and some of them 
quietly and contentedly like soldiers enjoying the fruits of 
victory of which they do not care to vaunt. Taken all in 
all, they formed a curiously pleasant class, insensibly distin- 
guished from, and yet harmoniously related to, the inhabi- 
tants of the prosperous villages, scattered here and there 
along the line of railroad. Their yachts dotted the spark- 
ling river ; their equipages dashed along the quiet roads. 
The low, sandy beach that bordered the Sound was over- 
looked by summer houses overflowing during the season 


with rich people from the great city bent on self -enjoy- 

Such an atmosphere seemed to develop a phase of my 
mother's character which I had hardly suspected. My 
grandmother had called her gay, and she had been noted 
us the most attractive hostess in a region where entertain- 
ment is the most highly-prized of all the arts. I was young 
then, however, and what had since occurred had almost 
blotted it from my memory. I had never dreamed that 
such a change was possible. It was not frivolity, still less 
was it a desire for admiration. It was simply the peaceful 
enjoyment of pleasant surroundings. There was nothing 
feverish or unnatural about it. She neither invited nor 
repelled admiration. She did not forget her relations to the 
past in her enjoyment of the present. If my classmates 
raved about her when she came to visit me at the college, it 
was as my mother that they sang her praises and honored 
me with kindly envy. She did not forget her widowhood, 
refusing to lay aside the indications of mourning until the 
day of my graduation. 

I hardly know how it was that we became, my mother 
and I, such habitual denizens of the Fairbanks home. 
The father, despite the proximity of the mills, which were 
supposed to be the foundation of his fortune, was absent 
much of the time, and I think was very glad to secure for 
his daughter so distinguished and acceptable a chaperon 
as my mother. He was engaged in great enterprises. 


which absorbed his entire atteution and demanded all his 
energies, giving him little opportunity to cater to his daugh- 
ter's comfort and enjoyment. 

For myself, I came and went with scarcely a thought 
of the singularity of my position. Nothing more had 
been said in regard to my relations with Edith, When they 
were at home I usually went down on Saturday and spent 
the Sabbath with them. On such occasions I always found 
Edith, with her phaeton and her favorite horse, awaiting 
my arrival at the station. She treated me, I thought, with 
the frank, affectionate manner accorded to an accepted 
suitor. Though her father had never in words stated 
his approval, yet it was evident from a thousand things 
that he looked forward with pleasant anticipation to the 
completion of my preparatory studies and my entrance upon 
real life. He was especially anxious that I should fit myself 
for my father's profession, and spared no opportunity to 
urge me to renewed exertion. He manifested also a great 
desire that my preparations should be completed before the 
opening of the packet my father had left for me. I was 
able only by the greatest effort to gratify his desire. 

This life, though seemingly an idyllic one, was to me 
therefore one of unremitting toil. During the whole period 
I hardly knew what it was to have a holiday. Every glimpse 
of my mother and Edith was a spur to redoubled exertion. 
I had the delightful consciousness that my course was 
watched by loving eyes, and that more than one life was 


ordered with a view to promote my success and secure my 

During the winter the house was generally closed for a 
considerahlo period, which my mother and Edith spent 
either in ''the city" — as New York is always designated 
by the dwellers in that region — or at some other social cen- 
ter. One season they were in Washington, where I joined 
them for the winter vacation. There could have been no 
better initiation into the curious life of the national capital 
than that which I received as the son of Godson Owen and 
the prospective son-in-law of Ambrose Fairbanks, who was 
no less eminent as a financier than as a soldier. Tliese two 
circumstances opened to me every door, and made me wel- 
come even to the antijDodes of political thought. 

While I was often congratulated by friends on my 
supposed relation to Edith, no allusion was ever made to it 
in the family and only rarely between Edith and myself. 
It was rather an assumed than an acknowledged fact. Only 
my mother spoke of it frequently. It was the acme of her 
hope, and she never lost an opj)ortunity when we were 
alone together of giving expression to her desire. She 
seemed to think that she must not relax her watchcare over 
me until my fate was irrevocably linked with Edith's, and she 
counted the months until my twenty-third birthday with 
ill-concealed anxiety. Especially was this noticeable dur- 
ing my last year of preparation. Indeed, her whole con- 
duct that year had a strange flavor of excitement. 


As I said, it had been decided to defer the reading of 
my father's missive until the condusion of my course of 
preparation. It was still in Edith's possession, and as we 
could not guess its contents we had long since ceased to 
speculate in regard to them ; at least, I had. I learned 
afterwards that apprehension as to its character had not 
only rested continually on my mother's heart, but had pre- 
vented Edith from looking forward with secure anticipa- 
tion to our future. As to General Fairbanks, his anxiety 
towards the last became evident to all. It had been 
arranged, at his special request, that the missive should be 
read on Saturday, the first day of July, Edith's birthday 
falling on the third. Even with this arrangement fate in- 

My preparation had ended more than a month previous 
to this date, and at my mother's suggestion I returned to 
my native state and was admitted to the bar, in order that 
I might place the credentials of my profession in the Gen- 
eral's hands at the same time, as an earnest of my determi- 
nation to rely upon myself rather than on any accident of 
fortune. It was not my intention to return to the South 
to live, but rather to seek a location in the West, the op- 
portunities of which fascinated my ambitious fancy. I was 
desirous of working out my own destiny in my own way. 
I wished to achieve for myself an individual success worthy 
of my father's memory and equal to what I deemed tlie 
aspiration of Edith's father for the husband of his daughter. 


A distrust of my ability to do this was, I thought, at the 
bottom of the reluctance he had at first manifested to 
sanctioning our engagement. I mentioned this to my 
mother on my return, and Avas surprised at the look of 
anxiety that overspread her countenance as she listened to 
my words. Somehow her seriousness gave me an uneasy 
feeling. For the first time, since that winter night at Eyal- 
mont, I began to wonder whether there were any serious 
obstacle to our marriage, which her love liad divined and 
mine had not discovered. Had I been so absorbed with 
preparation as to neglect pei'il to my love ? 

It was the day before the first of July. The morrow 
was to decide my fate. I put 021 my hat and strolled down 
to the river's edge, where the General's steam yacht lay at 
anchor. It was being prepared for the fete that was to 
take place on Monday. I wondered if I should be one of 
her passengers on that occasion. Somehow, I found my- 
self possessed with a vague terror as to what might inter- 

As I approached, I saw the skipper in conversation with 
a man whom I had sometimes seen at the house of General 
Fairbanks during my visits. It flashed upon me all at once 
that I had met him much oftener than any other guest under 
the roof of Sagamo Lodge. His name was Martling — Kichurd 
Martling. He was not a relative of the family, and, as far as 
I knew, was not associated with General Fairbanks in busi- 
ness. Indeed I had an idea there was somethincj of business 


antagonism between them. I have called him a guest, I 
might more properly have termed him a frequent visitor. 
It had never occurred to me to ask why he came, yet, now 
that I thought of it, I seemed to have noted that his pres- 
ence always brought something of restraint to both father 
and daughter. It flashed upon me, too, that my mother 
had never mentioned him in our frequent talks, without 
manfesting a peculiar jDreJudice against him. 

He was rather under middle age ; dark, with keen 
eyes, full lips and a hard, watchful look. His manners 
were neither good nor bad. He was a man of business, 
reputed to be very wealthy, and a favorite lieutenant of 
a noted " Oil King," who was the financial nabob of the 
region — a near kinsman of the most remarkable financial 
prodigy of this or any other age. 

As I drew near I heard Martling ask : 

" Fitting out for a cruise, Osborne ? " 

*' A cruise? Bless your soul," said the lank sailor, 
looking at his interlocutor and sending a stream of tobacco 
juice over the rail, ''no sech good luck ez that. It's e'en 
a'most two years now sence I had a good sniff of salt water, 
sech as blows on t'other side of the Island, you know, an' I 
did hope the old man would make up his mind for a real, 
old-fashioned vy'ge this year. So I had her cleaned up and 
overhauled from stem to starn, all on my own notion, you 
know, thinkin' the sight on her in clean clothes might set 


his head in that direction. An' what do ye suppose I got 
f er my pains, Mr. Martlin' ? " 

"Why, your wages." 

" Of course, of course ; every man always gits his jest 
dues that deals with the ohl man." 

" He does, eh? " said Martling, with a half sneer, as I 

" That's what he does," answered the sailor, emphati- 
cally ; " if he deals fair, that is. What I was alludin' to 
wasn't pay, exactly, but favor." 

"Well, Avasn't he pleased with what you had done ?'' 

" Oh, yes ; but instid o' sayin' a word about the deep 
sea, he jest said ' she looks nice, don't she ? You may git 
in a ton or two of coal and be ready to take a company of 
friends round the Head for a clambake, on Miss Edith's 
birthday.' That's Monday, ye know, an' I 'spect that's 
all the sailin' he'll git time fer this year. What sort o' 
way's that fer a man to do that's got sech a craft as this ? 
A ton or two o' coal ! She ought to have a hundred in her 
if she has a pound ! " 

"What is all this stuff you're taking on?" inquired 
Martling carelessly, pointing to a lot of boxes on the little 

"Jest a lot of nicknacks that come from the city fer 
the clam-bake. Looks as if they was goin' to have all 
Connecticut an' a squad from Ehode Islan' by the ice an' 
liquors, an' chickin fixin's of all sorts, from bakers and 


confectioners an' the like, that he's layin' in fer Monday. 
If there was only a few boxes o' good sea biscuits an' a little 
salt horse a goin' aboard it would please me better." 

"But not me," said Martling gaily. 

" I s'pose not," said the skipper, showing a row of 
stained and irregular teeth, as he rolled his lip upward in 
what was meant for a grin, but which seemed to the ob- 
server more like a painful distortion of his grizzled face. 
"'Spect you've got an iuvite, hain'c ye?" 

" I shall be there, you can bet your life," said Mart- 
ling, as he threw away his cigar and lit another. As he 
turned to leave the wharf we stood face to face. I noticed 
that he gave me a keen glance as I came forward. It will 
be remembered that I limped slightly. 

" Hello, Owen ; come down to look after the cargo?" 

" No, indeed ; " I answered lightly, "I'm too much of 
a landsman for that. I have as great a dread of salt water 
as Osborne j^rof esses fondness for it." 

"So?" he asked, sharply. "By the way, I've often 
wondered where you got that limp. A relic of the ' wah- 
time,' is it, like everything else at the South?" 

His tone seemed half insolent, but I answered, laugh- 
ingly, " Xo, indeed ; only the result of an awkward adven- 
ture with a horse." 

" Too bad, I thought you were a hero." 

I made no answer, but turned and walked towards the 


"See here, Owen," said Martling, stepping quickly to 
my side, " I didn't mean to be rough, but I'm not ;nuch 
on manners, as you know. I'm business, nothing but 
business — first, last and all the time ; and business don't 
feather a man's tongue. I'm plum straight out, tliough, 
Just what I am, with no apologies or cross-cuts. There isn't 
any need for us to quarrel — at least just now. When there 
is we'll both know it. If you don't object I'd like to walk 
along with you and ask a few questions." 

" You are at liberty to ask anything you choose, Mr. 
Martling — about myself," I replied, with some emphasis 
on the last word. 

'' I understand," he responded with a nod. " Yon 
don't exactly approve the way I have been pumping Osborne. 
Well, it wasn't nice, I admit ; but a man sometimes has 
to do what he don't like himself. But it is of yourself I 
want to question you. What I want to know is, are you 
engaged to Miss Edith?" 

''And if I am?" I asked hotly, turning towards him. 

*' In other words," said he coolly, "you mean to ask 
what business is it of mine whether you are or not. I don't 
know as I should care to tell, and you are equally at lib- 
erty, of course, to decline to answer my question. You 
gave me leave to ask it, you remember. If there is any reason 
why you do not wish to answer, of course you will not." 

''Mr. Martling," I replied, "I know nothing of your 


motive for such a question, and there is certainly no reason 
why I should not answer it — I am not."^ 

It was impossible not to note the look of exultation 
that flashed into his face as he heard these words. 

" I will be frank with yoU;, however/' I continued, and 
there was j)robably a touch of confident pride in my tone, 
"and say that I hope to be." 

" Indeed? " said he exultingly ; " well so do I. There 
is frankness for you. Ta, ta ! " 

He turned off along the foot-path leading to the luxu- 
rious house of his friend, Stoningham, with a wave of his 
hand and a light laugh. I heard him humming an air 
from a new comic opera as he disappeared, for this hard- 
headed and rough-mannered child of business was a musical 
amateur of no mean acquirements. I have heard a great 
deal in life of the refining and ennobling influence of music, 
but if I had a son to advise, I would impress upon his 
memory, at an early day, this warning : '' Beware of the 
man who sings at his work or when busy with his thoughts.-" 

I cannot say that I felt seriously disturbed by this 
avowed rivalry. Indeed, I found myself smiling in self- 
satisfaction as I listened to the confident strains that 
echoed from the elm-bordered path along which my rival had 
gone. I felt that he had waited too long, and that even 
with his millions he could not hope to succeed. Yet I 
remembered, with some trepidation, the uncertainty at- 
tending the breaking of the seals which hid my father's 
curiously-guarded behest. 


That evening we were to be alone — General Fairbanks, 
Edith, my mother and I. A large company had been in- 
vited for Edith's twenty-first birthday. As some of the 
guests would arrive the next day, it was decided that the 
missive my father had left should be opened that night. 
It was still in Edith's possession and we two were to read 
it first alone together. A pretty little room in the tourelle, 
that hung like a crystal cage above the main entrance of the 
Lodge, overlooking the river and giving glimpses of the 
Sound from its broad windows had been our favorite tryst- 
ing-place. Here we went, therefore, to read the letter 
which the dear, dead hand had penned so long before, in 
the midst of war's alarms. 

The sun was just sinking as I opened the envelope. 
Edith went to the window and stood looking out upon 
the river while I glanced hastily at its contents. I called 
her, and as she turned I noticed the yacht lying quietly at 
her wharf and Osborne walking back and forth beside the 
white tarpaulin that covered the boxes which were piled up 
beside it. I wondered what sort of a fete the great financier 
was going to give his daughter, for which such elaborate pre- 
parations were being made. For the first time, I think, I 
realized what an infinite distance there was between us, 



measured by the standard of the life which surrounded her. 
I had never thought much of General Fairbanks's wealth or 
his daughter's relation to it. I did not covet it for myself 
ncr for her. Indeed, I would have preferred that she should 
be dependent on me for everything she enjoyed. Love is 
very selfish and fond of the luxury of conferring favor. I 
knew her father was rej)uted wealthy. His triumphs and 
reverses had been heralded from time to time in the public 
prints. He was counted at least a millionaire. And it 
was his daughter to whose hand I aspired — nay, whose love 
I had never questioned, and to a union with whom I had 
looked forward as a matter of course. 

I thought of all this with wonder as she came and 
seated herself in a low chair just in front of mine, waiting 
in quiet expectancy for me to speak. She was not beauti- 
ful, but so delicately fair that I trembled as I looked into 
the great dark eyes, shaded by long lashes, and thought 
how frail the tenement that held the love which even a 
sense of her father's wealth could not make me doubt. 
There was a look of apprehension on her face which I made 
haste to dispel, saying as I reached out and took her hand 
in mine : 

" It is all right, sweetheart. There is nothing to fear." 
A sigh of relief answered my words. Then holding her hand 
in mine I read to her the words my father had written in 
view of his probable death. When I concluded we both re- 
mained silent for a long time. Then she said, solemnly : 


'' What a strange letter! '' 

" But you see, dear, there is nothing unfavorable in it." 

''Unfavorable — to what?" 

*' Why to our love, of course/' 

" How could there be ? " 

" But you know 3'our father was unwilling that we 
should consider ourselves engaged until we kuew the con- 
tents of this letter." 

" Until I became of age," she said, correcting me. 

" Well, yes — though that is the same thing." 

*'My birthday will be on Monday." 

" But, good Heavens, Edith, you do not mean — there 
is nothing else to intervene ? " 

'* It is my father's request," — dreamily. 

** Yes — of course — but " 

*' Can you not wait ? " 

" Yes'"— doubtingly. 

What was the light that shone in her eyes — the flush 
that mounted to her cheeks ? Did she sigh ? Did she 
bend towards me ? Did her lips invite ? 

''No, no, no !" I cried, impulsively, as I clasped her 
in my arms and kissed her again and again. I felt her 
breath upon my lips ; her heart beat against mine. Ah, 
how tender was this Avoman who lay in my arms rewarding 
my faithfulness but not recognizing my right. 1 knew 
that she granted me this for my long waiting — that I 
might know her heart was mine, vet not be emboldened to 


claim what she might not be able to bestow. She hoped, 
but dared not even yet believe ; loved, but could not plight 
her faith. I knew then, even in the midst of my rapture, 
that she would not hesitate to crush the love she allowed 
me to see, rather than confessed, should any demand of 
duty make it necessary. Such was the significance of this 
embrace. It was enough. I did not ask for more. Yet 
even as I kissed her lips I seemed to hear Martling's laugh- 
ing declaration of rivalry, and half-mistrusted my good 
fortune. It is so fitting that millions should match with 

''Had you not better take it to your mother? "said 
Edith, gently releasing herself and picking up the letter 
from the floor, where it had fallen, " She will be very 
anxious, and papa too, to know what it contains." 

** Will you not come with me?" detaining her hand in 

She pushed the hair back from her temple with the 
other hand and shook her head as she gave me an arch 
glance from under the long lashes. My grasp tightened 
on her hand. " May I come back ? " 

I knew my voice trembled. The blush flamed into 
crimson in her face. She gazed into my eyes appealingly 
as she drew her hand slowly from my grasp. 

"Not to-night — please." 

Could ever bashalic love deny such a request? But the 
soft lips did not refuse tribute for my grace. 


My brain teemed with tender visions as I went down 
the stairs and sought the library, where my mother and 
General Fairbanks waited for my coming. AVhat was it 
checked the song of gladness in my heart? 

The door of the library stood ajar. As I crossed the 
line of light that flashed into the dark hall, I saw my 
mother with her head uj) raised, her white throat bare and 
throbbing, while over her bent — Ambrose Fairbanks! Did 
their lips meet? Was his arm around her? Or had love 
so distorted my vision that all things bore to me the sem- 
blance of caresses? I stopped, confused, overwhelmed with 
— I knew not what sense of shame and grief. 

I did not know that I made any sound but I must 
have done so, for I saw my mother thrust him gently aside, 
not hastily nor rebukingly, walk calmly to the door, and 
say in a voice as full of love as ever fell upon my childish 

'* Is it you, my son ? Come in." 

I went dumbly forward and put into her hands her 
husband's last message, w^hile he who had been that hus- 
band's dearest foe stood smiling quietly upon us. 

"What is it, dear?" she asked, gazing into my face 
with a troubled look ; "Nothing unpleasant, I hope." 

"Oh, mother, mother! How could it be?" 

I put my arms about her and kissed her as it had 
always been my wont to do in joy or sadness. I had meant 
to whisper something of my rapture in her ear, but my 


heart was now like lead, and there were tears upon her 
cheek when I released her from my embrace. 

" How could he send any unpleasant message to us — 
to me ? " I corrected. 

My mother seemed surprised at my vehemence. 

" True — true enough," she said, composedly, as she 
wiped the tears from her face. 

I went out — into the night — to think. It seemed as 
if the house would smother me, it was so full of strange 
extremes. A storm was coming up the valley. One half 
the heavens were black, the other bright and starry. The 
lightning played about the edges and opened fiery, dazzling 
pits in the black void that stretched from the zenith down 
to the sea, whose hoarse, sobbing moans came to my ears 
on the freshening breeze. I looked up at the sky and 
laughed. Which was real — the bright, placid northern 
hemisphere or the black, flame-gashed southern sky. 

Was Nature playing tricks with me? What had I 
seen? What had I felt? Was the taste of kisses yet upon 
my lips — love's kisses? My mother? Faugh! My mother! 
Love, indeed, had crazed my brain or — photographed its 
bliss upon my retina! 

My thoughts grew calmer as the storm drew near, 
and when the first great drops came plashing down, I re 
turned to the house and went to my bed to sleep the quiet 
sleep of youth and dream the blissful dream of love. 


The morrow came aud went as only summer days can 
come and go. The liouse was full of pleasant company. 
Of General Fairbanks I saw little, but my mother was every- 
where, and with her always Edith, and both were radiant. 
In the afternoon we had a long talk about my father's let- 
ter and the strange duty he had enjoined upon me. Most 
unexpectedly, I found my mother inclined to second his 

'' Of course," she said, "it does not seem possible, per- 
haps hardly desirable now ; but your father was a very 
wise man. He used to make me tremble sometimes with 
the intensity of his knowledge — if I may use that expres- 
sion — I mean his faculty of knowing what others did not 
know, would not know, or, as I sometimes thought, could 
not know. Yet it was all so plain to him. He had a 
strange power of compelling the future, as it were, to 
give up to him what it hid from others. General Fair- 
banks was very much imjiressed with the contents of the 
letter. He says that events have strangely confirmed Avhat 
your father predicted, and the future promises still further 
corroboration. As for the final result, it is, of course, a 
great wrench to him to think it possible. He says he never 
dreamed of such a thing before. He has looked upon the 
War for Separation as the end of every possible difference 
of that sort ; but he says there is a sense of reality about 
your father's views that he cannot resist. It seems as if 
there were no other way — as if the general good, which to 


liim is always an irresistible fate — pointed inflexibly in the 
direction of your father^s prophecy. He thinks it will be 
a long time in coming, however, and that you may, very 
probably, be older than your father was when the crisis of 
the national fate came upon him, before you will be called 
to act in the matter — if, indeed, you should really ever 
have to act at all. 

" I cannot tell you, my son, what a relief this is to 
me," she added with a sigh. " Now I am sure there will 
be no separation — no obstacle I mean. You and Edith can 
be very happy — whatever may haj)pen to me." 

There was something in her tone I did not quite un- 
derstand, and a troubled, absent look upon her face, while 
she talked with me, that was unusual. She was very ten- 
der, however, and when she came into my room, after she 
had dressed for dinner, I was quite enraptured with her 
loveliness. When I bent and kissed the roses at her throat, 
she tapped my cheek playfully with her fan, and said it 
was evident that she must go away or make trouble be- 
tween me and Edith. Of course, such jaleasant banter 
was by no means disagreeble to me, and I doubt if ever son 
was prouder of a mother than I of the beautiful woman 
who went down the broad stairway of Sagamo Lodge that 
evening on my arm. Even after the day was over and the 
gay company asleep, she seemed still to be with me. I 
dreamed I was a boy again and thought she bent over my 


couch while the fragrance of the roses filled the moonlit 
night. But somehow in my dreams the scene I had wit- 
nessed in the library would obtrude, and I saw again our 
host's silvery moustache brushing her fair cheek. 


The calm of the summer Sabbath was over the land 
when I awoke. There was a knock at my door— not the 
matter-of-course tap of the trained domestic, but a hurried, 
agitated rap upon the panel. I sat up in bed, too much 
surprised to answer. What sudden prescience was it that 
translated the light touch upon the door into a precursor 
of evil? I had no reason to anticipate ill, but a nameless 
terror forced my heart into my throat. I knew, I know 
not how, that it was Edith who stood without — her face 
pale, her mind distraught, and her heart overwhelmed 
with some grievous woe. What could it be ? Had fate 
come again between us ? Had death crept into the silent 
house ? My mother — her father ! Could an3rthing be wrong 
with them ? Was it crime, burglary, murder ? There 
seemed to be a mortal terror in her tone as she rapped again 
and exclaimed, in a low, hurried voice : 

'• Ryal! Mr. Owen — come down — at once — please — to 
the library! I must see you! " 

I sprang up, ran to the door and called through the 
dark polished panels : 

" Edith! What is it? Yes, of course, coming!" 

There was no answer. I thought I heard her footsteps 
stealing — no, dragging, cautiously yet heavily away towards 


the stairs. I began to dress hurriedly with a chill, numb 
feeling. I knew I was pale and breathing short and quick. 
I heard her step approaching the door again. How well I 
knew it! I had listened to it so often, with the pleasure 
that comes from noting unconsciously the attributes of 
those we love. Could this be hers — Edith's? Again she 
knocked — softly — stealthily ! 

" Yes ?" I answered, inquiringly. 
Why did my voice sink to a whisper? Did I read the 
heart as well as see the blanched face beyond the solid oak ? 
I knew she was not thinking of me — that she did not come 
to me for refuge, shelter, guidance — but to direct and com- 
mand. There was a throb of pain as I felt myself over- 
shadowed, then a thrill of delight at the thought that I 
might serve. 



We were both whispering, yet how clear was every 
syllable! It seemed as if I could feel the throbbing nerves 
of the slender hand whose finger-tips rested against the 

*' Come as gently as you can." 

*' All right." 

"And as quickly." 

^' I will." 

Then the dragging steps went away. 

Just as I flung on my coat something white on the 


carpet, near the head of the bed, attracted my atten- 
tion. I crossed the room and picked it up. It was the 
spray of roses which my mother had worn in her corsage 
and I had playfully kissed when she came into my room 
before we went down to dinner the day before. It was a 
cluster of the creamy-white Gold of Ophir, plucked from a 
plant brought from Kyalniont. How splendidly it had 
harmonized with her abundant charms, the full, rounded 
bust, the radiant face, the tender, beaming eyes, the shin- 
ing golden hair, the graceful form clad in silk of a mellow 
russet-bronze, bordered at the neck and sleeves with filmy 
lace. The old home with its luxuriant embowerings rose 
before me as I recognized the faded flowers and smiled at the 
jealousy which had filled my dreams. Why should not Am- 
brose Fairbanks woo and win so fair a woman? Why 
should his kisses seem so terrible a thing to me? What 
right had I — ? Ah, none, none ; save that she was mine — 
my worshiped mother — all that was left me of the past. 

A piece of paper was twisted about the stems, the ends 
slipped through a ring in which glittered a single diamond. 
I hastily unwound it, opened a shutter, and read : 

'' My Son : 

" Forgive me for having hidden anything from you. 
Edith will tell you all. Poor girl — it will be very hard for 
her. She is not strong and I fear the shock may be more 
than she can bear. You must be very careful of her. I 
leave you my engagement ring and hope you will put it on 
her finger before the sun sets on Monday. Don't let the 


clouds terrify you. Take her to Ryalmont and wait for 
the sunshine. You have not much, but in our dear native 
South, where honor and worth are not estimated by a gold 
standard, it will be enough. My duty calls me away, but 
I shall come to you again, my son, and until then I leave 
you — nay, I shall daily send you — the unnumbered blessings 
of a mother-love no other love can quench. M. F." 

So what I had dreaded had come, and now that I 
knew it to be a fact I was no longer troubled. I was hardly 
surprised — nay, shall I admit it? — I think I was glad, glad 
for her sake and for the man whom I so highly honored. 

I was not mistaken, then. My mother had come to my 
room, and no doubt had bent over me and kissed me as I had 
dreamed. It was like her to bring me the flowers, too, with 
the note quaintly fastened about their stems with the ring 
my father had placed upon her finger when he wooed her 
under the live-oaks by the placid Oconee. She had showed 
me the very place when we were summoned there by my 
grandfather's death, more than a year before. Perhaps 
she thought I might have witnessed the scene in the library 
and wished to reassure me of her love. Dear mother! She 
need not have feared my displeasure. I could not have 
been long displeased by anything she might do. I loved 
her so that I did not wonder that the father of Edith should 
love her also. Now that I thought of it, it seemed very 
natural and very proper, too. It even flashed through 
my mind, with a sort of whimsical effect, that it would be 
a fair exchange — my mother for his daughter. 


This brought Edith and her summons to my mind. I 
stole out of the room and along the silent hall. The 
morning sunshine was vainly striving to make its way 
through the closed shutters. It was yet early and the ser- 
vants were not astir, though a bell was calling to early 
mass in a village across the river. Its soft notes fell upon 
my ear as I entered the library, the door of which stood 
ajar as if waiting for my coming. Edith had opened the 
the upper-half of a shutter and stood gazing out upon the 
river. The light fell upon her face. What had changed it? 
It was not so much pallor as hopelessness that showed in 
its lineaments. She seemed to have grown suddenly old. 
The lines of her mouth were relaxed ; the eyes had lost 
their fire ; the lids drooj^ed nervelessly ; a dull, hopeless- 
ness seemed to have settled on her. Ah, me ; I little knew 
what these signs portended! 

" Edith! what is it? " I half whispered as I closed the 
door and stepped quickly to her side. She waved her hand 
towards the river and said hoarsely : 

''Do you not see?" 

I scanned the placid surface which the morning breeze 
broke into sparkling ripples, and shook my head. 

''I beg your pardon," she said, with quiet bitterness, 
*'it is what you do not see — what is gone!" 

" What is gone? " I said with a great fear in my heart. 

" Do you miss nothing ? " 


How had I been so blind? The little wharf was steam- 
ing in the sunshine, but the yacht was nowhere to be seen. 

*' She has gone up the river to coal/' I suggested. 

*' She has gone — to sea/' she answered, positively. 

"And your father?" My voice trembled. She turned 
towards me with a dull, pitying look. 

*' And your mother." 

What caused the sickening fear that came over me ? 
I knew nothing to account for my agitation. Was there 
anything I did not know? Or was it the mere sense of 
mystery that daunted me? Her father — my mother — fled 
— by night! That was all I knew. Where? Why? These 
were the questions my heart asked and feared to have an- 
swered. The sunlit river showed no track. What lay beyond ? 
Crime? I shuddered, but denied stoutly, angrily in my heart. 
Shame? My face flushed. God forgive me, for an instant 
I doubted even my mother's purity! The kiss I had wit- 
nessed — the flight — the mystery — but no, it could not be! 
My mother — my beautiful mother — my adored, my peer- 
less mother! The shadow of im2:)utation could never rest 
upon her! Then I remembered the signature of the note 
I yet held in my hand—" M. F." 

My heart leajoed with gladness. I held it ujd before 
her, pointing to the initials, and said, gleefully, 

" She is your mother too! They have gone on a bridal 


She smiled a weak, sad smile that renewed my fears. 
" What is it, Edith? What do you know? " 
She pointed to a letter on the table and sank wearily 
into a chair, while I read. 


My dear Daughter : 

I can imagine the consternation you will feel on 
reading this letter ; yet I hope you will bear up bravely 
as becomes the daughter of one who, though unable longer 
to resist, is too proud to surrender, even to fate. I would 
rather be nothing than remain among our people and be 
less than I have been. 

At one time you no doubt anticipated trouble and loss ; 
but I do not suppose you ever looked upon absolute im- 
poverishment as a possibility, or dreamed that your father's 
name might be associated with crime as well as misfortune. 

Long before you read these lines I shall be a fugi- 
tive — a fugitive from justice, the newspapers Avill say — 
without anything I can call my own except the yacht and 
her equipment. Even these are really the property of the 
noble woman who is the companion of my exile, and who 
has robbed herself and her son to lighten my misfortune 
and relieve my present exigency. We thought to surprise 
you with a double wedding, and hoped until almost the 
last moment that this exodus might be avoided. Finding 
that we must choose between two evils, we decided to take 
what seemed the least. Detectives have been upon my 
track for some time, and an indictment was found against 



me on yesterday. But for this fact, the lapse of time 
would have barred prosecution on the offence charged, 
to-day — for it is past midnight now — and I should have 
been able to observe your birthday to-morrow without 
apprehension — once more a free man, released from the 
horrible possibility which has hung over my life so long. 

I have suspected that my enemy would take this 
course, and with the aid of Mrs. Owens — now Mrs. Fairbanks 
— have arranged to meet it and baffle those whose malice 
has followed me with such persistency. Under pretense of 
preparing for your fete the Wanderer has been fairly well 
victualled for a cruise. Osborne, whose faithfulness can 
be relied on, will take on coal enough for a voyage to-night 
and be at the wharf at two o'clock. If nothing prevents, we 
shall board her then, and ''they'll have fleet steeds that 
follow." I think my enemy has been thrown off his guard 
by the preparations for your birthday. Instead of confec- 
tions the boxes contained substantial stores. The yacht, 
you know, stands very near the head of her class, and as 
it is the last time she will carry American colors, I mean 
that she shall do credit to the flag at her peak. 

It is strange that I should feel exhilaration at the 
thought of leaving my native land under such circum- 
stances, but I have watched the toils that have been woven 
about me so long, that I am almost gleeful at the thought 
of escaping from them. I know it will leave a terrible 
burden of sorrow and humiliation for you to bear, but it 


would have been even worse had I remained without the 
hope of retrieval that we now have. If we succeed — and I 
think we shall — in eluding our enemy, I hope yet to recoup 
my fortune and more than rejiay you for any sacrifice you 
may have to make on my account. Some investments 
made almost as an act of charity some years ago in a foreign 
land promise rich returns, I go to give them my atten- 
tion. Should I succeed, you will see your father again ; 
but I doubt if Ambrose Fairbanks is ever heard 'of more. I 
have determined to sink my individuality, and under 
another name either win a new success or hide the shame 
of failure. 

I do not care to return here to defend or justify my 
past. All my pride and ambition are gone — even my pa- 
triotism is dead. I could never again be anything in my 
native land but an object of suspicion to the people whose 
esteem I have prized above all other things. I should be a 
stranger in the nation for whose life I freely offered my 
own. You will, of course, not think of remaining here to 
face the storm of obloquy and derision that will greet 
the knowledge of my departure. You will not wait to hear 
your father denounced as a miscreant by those who have 
claimed to be his best friends — aye, by those who owe to his 
favor all they possess of fortune or repute. The letter Gen- 
eral Owen left for Ryal first opened my eyes to the fact 
that the South will offer a refuge to you from the relentless 


scorn of a people to whose favor access is obtainable only 
by a golden key. 

You will have but little, when you have redeemed my 
name from the odium of insolvency, but with Ryal's pro- 
fession it will be enough. I shall always think of you as 
living contented and happy upon the embowered hillside 
whose beauty even the storm of battle sj)ared. The power 
to indulge in unlimited luxury is not there the sole test of 
social merit, and as the wife of Eyal Owen you will be the 
peer of the highest and proudest, though you may have 
no surplus thousands at your disposal. It is strange that 
what we have been accustomed to consider the stronghold 
of aristocracy, should be the only portion of our land 
where society is not built on a purely monetary basis. There 
it is still possible, not merely to be poor and also respecta- 
ble, but to be welcome in society without being rich. 

My bitterest regret is that you will be involved in my 
misfortune. I have striven not without success to preserve 
the estate inherited from your mother from depreciation. 
You will find it — one half the Mills and Sagamo Lodge, 
with certain stocks — ready for your disposal on coming of 
age. It will be for you to decide, when you read the state- 
ment I shall leave, whether you will retain it for your own 
use or devote it to the payment of the only debt for which 
I am liable. I do not doubt that you will choose to extin- 
guish the debt even at the sacrifice of the greater part of 
your property. If so, I have arranged a sale by consum- 


mating which on Monday, you will secure the necessary 
funds. It will only afford you the barren satisfaction of 
saying that your father owes no man a farthing, but I think 
you will not hesitate to do it. I have arranged for my 
lawyer and the party who wishes to purchase to come out 
on the eight o'clock train Monday morning. The papers are 
all ready for your signature and the money will be paid 
over on their execution. The note for which I am liable 
falls due on the same day. I understand that it is the 
property of Mr. Stoningham, or of the Rock Gil Trust 
Company, of the president of which he is a relative. 
Mr. Martling will bring it and the hypothecated securi- 
ties when he calls on Monday. Should you conclude 
to pay the same, my legal adviser, Mr. Alson, an old 
comrade and a most worthy man whom I would advise you 
to retain, will transfer to you certain properties you Avill find 
mentioned in the enclosed statement. I trust they will 
sometime remunerate you for the sacrifice their possession 
will cost. 

In regard to the matter which will, no doubt, affect 
you more deeply than the fact of my insolvency — though 
you will find that the society in which you have been 
accustomed to move would forgive it far more readily — the 
fact that I am fleeing as an indicted criminal. You Avill 
see by the enclosed statement that the act of which I am 
accused, at the worst, was without purpose to harm, and, 
if you shall pay the debt to which I have alluded, no one 


will have sustained loss by any act of mine except our- 
selves. All the rest I have made good. Mr. Alson may 
tell you that I am not even technically guilty of the charge 
against me. He has so advised me, but I think it not wise 
to remain and fight for my good name with a power so 
malignant and omnipotent as the great monopoly which 
is the real prosecutor. 

It has been intimated to me that if I would part with 
the rights Mr. Alson will convey to you, and consent to 
your marriage with Mr. Martling, the debt would be forgiven 
and the prosecution dropped. I have managed to postpone 
any consideration of this until your birthday, and by assur- 
ing Mr. Martling that you would not enter into any matri- 
monial engagement until that time. This you know I 
could safely do, having your promise to that effect. 

You will pardon me, Edith, for having seemed to make 
traffic of your future. I could not well do otherwise. If I 
had refused to listen to this proposal it might have jire- 
cipitated my misfortune before you were able to act for 
yourself and perhaps have led to hopeless sacrifice on your 
part. Besides, I will confess that I was in hope my enemy 
might relent or become careless, so that his opportunity to 
prosecute Avould be lost. Then we could have paid the 
debt and eventually have retrieved our loss, without any 
impairment of personal character or prestige. 

Mr. Martling will, no doubt, inform you that he has my 
leave to address you as a suitor. I did ])romise him that 


I would put no obstacles in his way. He will tell you that 
he alone has jiower to quash the prosecution against me. 
In this, too, he no doubt speaks truly. His master, Ston- 
ingham, has been willing to favor him thus far in his woo- 
ing. He is not a bad man, neither is his master. In love 
and in business they count everything fair — that is all. 
They do not see why you shoitld not be coerced through 
your filial love. Such things are not so very infrequent 
either. If you loved Mr. Martling I would make no objec- 
tion to the conditions offered. I will not, however, permit 
you to be constrained to marry any one out of consideration 
for my safety or advantage. I have promised not to inter- 
fere with your choice, but you must be allowed to choose, 
not terrified into compliance by the fear of untoward con- 
sequences to me. The course I am about to take will at 
least leave you free to consult your own happiness. It will 
be impossible to shield me from suspicion. To sacrifice 
yourself for me would be in vain. If I can not save you 
from humiliation, I can at least leave you free to seek 
what happiness life may bring without fear of any one's 
ability to work me harm. 

You will, no doubt, blame me for not sheltering my 
good name behind your love, but you must remember that 
to have done so would have been the most ineffaceable dis- 
honor. Flight or death were the only alternatives. I 
chose that which I am about to attempt, knowing that I 
had the other always in reserve. Ambrose Fairbanks 


will never stand in the prisoner's dock nor plead to 
a felonious accusation. That I live and hope, you 
will remember, is in a great measure due to the courage and 
devotion of that noble woman who has sacrificed her own 
and her son's fortune hardly less for your sake than for 
mine. That she is willing to unite her fate with mine 
gives me hoj^e. 

Trusting in her cheerful presage of happier days, I 
remain with unabated love, 

Your father, 

Ambrose Fairbanks. 

P. S. — Eemember, that however unfortunate I may be, 
no man can claim that I have purposely done him wrong 
in any matter, great or small. A. F. 


"Well, I'm glad he got away," I said, heartily, as I 
finished reading. I had never had a Avarmer feeling for 
Edith's father than at that moment. '' I am sure I wish 
them a pleasant voyage." 

'' Oh Eyal ! " Edith spoke reproachfully. 

I looked at her in surprise. She was folding between 
her fingers an end of tlie wide ribbon that confined her 
morning robe at the waist. I noticed that, despite what 
had happened, the bows were tied with the utmost pre- 
cision. Her hair was jjarted evenly on her forehead, and 
nothing but the weary, distressed look and the unconscious 
action of her hands revealed any excitement. 

" Why not ? " I asked. 

" Such a disgrace ! " she exclaimed, letting the plaited 
end fall loose upon her lap. 

" He says he has done nothing dishonorable." 

" Oh — of course." 

" Have you read the paper he refers to ?" 

" Yes." 

" That explains everything, I suppose ? " 

" It tells the whole sickening story " — with a sigh. 

'' Am I to see it ? " 

" I — suppose so — some time." 


She plaited the ribbon again, held the folded edge 
between thumb and finger, and spread it out in fan-shape 
with the otlier hand, quilling the ends over her fingers. 

" There can be nothing wrong — no fraud — nor anything 
of that kind ? " 

*' No, nothing but failure ; owing money one cannot 
pay " — bitterly. 

" You speak as if there could be nothing worse." 

She shrugged her shoulders. 

" There are not many things more — annoying." 

" Honest poverty is not a crime." 

"Not poverty J but inability to pay— that is worse 
than a crime." 

"Worse ?" 

" Yes, indeed, it is a sin. ' Pay that thou owest,' that 
is the scriptural rock on which respectable society rests." 

" But you will j)ay this debt ? " 

*' Oh, of course — I hope that is all." 

*' But you know it is. Does he not expressly say so ? " 

She held the fan-shaped plaiting up to the light, 
touching it here and there to make it even and turning it 
back and forth as if studying it artistically. There was 
the slightest possible movement of her shoulders. She 
made no other reply. Among this people insolvency breeds 
distrust even among kindred. 

" If that is paid T see no disgrace." 
" There is the running away." 


" He made a hard fight and lost. It is merely a 
change of base/' 

*' In the presence of the enemy — to avoid arrest ! " 

" On a malicious prosecution." 

*' Between two days." 

" Why not, when there were detectives on his track ?" 

" With a woman, too ! " 

*' My mother, remember." 

'' Yes, my father and your mother !" 

" His wife, however." 

" A private marriage — worse and worse ! " 

'' I supj)ose there is no harm in that — they were of 
age," I said angrily. I was horrified at her heartlessness. 

"There is some consolation in that." She laughed 
nervously. " Oh Eyal, what a terrible mess ! What will 
they say ? " 

She smoothed out the ribbon, tossed it down at her 
side, and then drew it through her fingers to remove the 

" Nothing disrespectful of my mother I " I answered 

'' Not those who knew her, of course ; but — the 
papers ! " 

"What of them?" 

" Oh, I can see them," she moaned, twisting her 
inlocked fingers together hopelessly. "I can see the head- 
lines and hear the newsbovs shouting, "Another Good 


Man Gone ! " ^' Gen. Ambrose Fairbanks Leaves His 
Country For His Country's Good!" '' A Woman in the 
Case ! " " Romance and Eascality ! " " One of Lee's 
Pursuers flees from the Sheriff I" " Amount of his Steal- 
ings Unknown ! " '' His Daughter's Fortune Swallowed 
Up ! " 

The perspiration broke out upon my forehead as I 
listened to her even tones. Did she think only of herself ? 

"I would rather have died/' she continued — "rather 
we all had died ! Why did he not tell me ? Why did he 
not trust me ? " 

" What would have been the use ? " 

" I would have saved him." 


" Yes ; I ought to have done it, anyhow ! " 

'^ But you did not know of his difficulty." 

*' Oh yes I did — that is, something of it. I — I — knew 
he was in trouble and that I could help him ; but I — I 
hoped it might not be so bad. I could have endured 
poverty, I suppose — though that would have been bad 
enough — and I never dreamed of anything more. But to 
be poor and — and disreputable besides ! " 

She rose and began to walk back and forth across the 
room, twisting her fingers in a pathetic, helpless way. 

'' You should not blame your father, Edith. He could 
not prevent what has occurred." 

" Oh, I do not blame him. I pity him. He hag 


fought so hard and been so true — "square," we call iv 
That is what he has always been proud of — "doing the 
square thing." That means paying a debt whether it is 
just or unjust — taking all the risk, all the blame, and suf- 
fering all the loss ! " 

" He has done all that." 

" Yes, but he will get no credit for it. Nobody will 
believe it. His name will ])e bandied about the country as 
that of an absconder as well as a failure, perhaps a de- 
defaulter. Oh my poor father ! How he has suffered — 
how he must still suffer I " 

" But you Avill pay the debt. AVhat more could you 
have done ? " 

*' I might have saved the exposure." 

" How ? " 

"Don't ask me." 

She turned again to the window and stood looking 
out at the river over the lower blind, her back towards me. 

" You do not mean that you would Inive sacrificed 
yourself ? " I asked hoarsely. 

She did not answer. 

"You would not have married Martling!" I asked, 
huskily — venturing on what had been uppermost in my 
mind from the first. 

She only shrugged her shoulders. 

" Edith ! You would not — you could not forget your 


*' I did forget — my duty ! " 

She did not look around. 

'' But you would not sacrifice your life, your happi- 
ness ? " 

Then she turned. 

" What is my happiness to my father's good name ? 
You do not understand me, Ryal — you do not understand 
us. You would die for honor, but you care little for pub- 
lic esteem. To us a good reputation is more precious even 
than a consciousness of rectitude — to be scorned, a bitterer 
thing than to deserve ignominy. If your father's com- 
mand had made it necessary for you to renounce my love 
you would have done it." 

I tried to protest. 

" Do not deny it. I know you would. I should have 
despised you if you had not. So I ought to have shielded 
my father's fame at the price of my own happiness. That 
is all the chance a woman has to sliow herself worthy. A 
man can do; she can only suffer." 

I started toward her. She shrank away. 

" Don't, don't ! " she moaned pitifully, putting up her 
hands to push me back. 

'' But you will not think of such a thing — now ?" 

" I don't know — I must think. Please, Ryal — " still 
ehrinking back with the white palms turned towards me. 

" I will kill him ! " I said hoarsely. 

*'And me too? That would be a fine climax. Oh 


Ryal, you must help me. You are the only one I can 
trust ! '' She clasped her hands in pitiful, unconscious 

" You love me, Edith ? " 

" Do you doubt it ? " 

" And yon will not think — of — of leaving me ?" 

" Could you bear to have me pointed at as tlie daugh- 
ter of a fugitive — a defaulter ? '' Her eyes fell as she ut- 
tered the words. 

" You shall not be ! " 

" Oh — " with a sigh of relief, '' How will you pre- 
vent it ? " 

" We will fight them. The law shall compel them to 
do justice I" 

" The law ! Can the law stop the slanderer's tongue?" 

" It can at least make him retract his lie and smart 
for his wrong." 

" Not here, Eyal, not here in our moral and intelligent 
Northern life, where the newspaper bears sway. No man's 
honor, no woman's virtue is safe from attaint here." 

*' Then we will go to the South, where the child is not 
cursed by the father's fault — where there is still a law for 
the slanderer and where honor is accounted better than 
gold ! " 

" That would be pleasant," she said with a sigh. 

I put my arms about her and drew her to me. She 
leaned her head upon my breast like a tired child. 

EIGHTY. NIN^. 045 

" You will not think of — of doing anything else ? " I 
asked, kissing her hair. 

She sighed again. 

" No — not if I can help it. Let me go now. I am so 

She put her hands against me, pushed herself feebly 
from my embrace, smoothed her hair unconsciously, and 
stole softly from the room. 


"When she had gone I opened the window and sat down 
to think. The sunshine poured in, the dew sparkled ou 
the leaves, and the soft morning breeze came up from the 
river. A boat shot out from the other shore and broke 
its way through the golden ripples. I watched it care- 
lessly. A man with a low. narrow-brimmed white hat, 
carrying a small cane, stood ui)on the pier and watched it 
also. Presently the boat reached the landing, and its 
occupant stepped out and spoke to the man in the white 
hat. As he glanced towards the house I saw it was one of 
the servants. He came up the path after a moment. The 
other looked up and down the river for a little time and 
then sauntered away. 

AVhen he had disappeared, my thoughts reverted to 
Edith and her sorrow. Somehow I could not make it 
seem real. Her agony appeared extravagant, unnatural. 
It was like a remembered nightmai'c. I wondered if the 
sunshine would not dispel it. I knew she was proud and 
sensitive, but I had not looked to see her overcome by any 
such misfortune. It was not the loss of luxury, for her 
tastes were simple, and she had often sjDoken with ad- 
miration of our unpretending southern life. As I turned 
the matter over in my mind I found myself less and less able 

ElallTT-NINE. 247 

to comprehend the uuattenible agony she seemed to feel. 
Of course, it was unpleasant to have her father depart in 
a surreptitious manner, especially to avoid arrest on a 
criminal charge. But he had assured her that no wrong 
had been intended, and that, if she paid his debt, no 
one else would suffer loss on account of it. He had given 
all his estate to repair the fault and now his daughter 
would give hers. Surely the strictest commercial code 
could require no more. Instead of feeling any sense of 
shame I was inclined to exult both in his sturdy upright- 
ness and in the resolute courage which refused to yield to 
fate and even braved the obloquy of the world rather than 
submit to the power of a malicious enemy. 

It seemed to me a great and noble thing that this man, 
already past the meridian of life, should resolutely cut 
loose from a past which might well be accounted enough 
for one man's work, and start out under a new name 
in some unknown land to retrieve his fortunes. I did not 
wonder that my mother had felt the charm of such a spirit, 
and forgave her for loving him. When my father's 
ashes Avere brought to Ryalmont to be laid under the shade 
of its trees, I had noted casually her bright beauty as she 
stood one day by the new-made grave, and wondered if 
she would ever wed again. I remembered thinking that 
I would not object, if only she chose one worthy to fill 
the place of the dead. I felt that the unexpressed condi- 
tion had been fulfilled and heartily wished them joy. 


All this seemed so plain to me that I could not believe 
it would not be equally apparent to Edith when she camo 
to look at it calmly. I was even inclined to make light of 
her dolorous premonitions. Alas, I had yet to learn the 
power of that terrible cult by which her life had been 
shaped. Despite my four years of residence at the North, 
I had learned little of the forces controlling its life. In a 
vague way I apprehended what is termed its enterprise, the 
restless energy and dauntless aspiration which have impelled 
it to such marvelous accomplishment; but I understood 
nothing of the spirit that underlay them. I did not realize 
the jealousy, the envious distrust and ceaseless yearning to 
outdo and outshine, that form the impelling motive and 
controlling sentiment of this life. AVe are accustomed to 
think of Yankees as fond of money, and to attribute their 
enterprise to the mere greed of gain. It is not so. Per- 
haps less than any people in the world are they inclined to 
prize money for its owii sake. Is^either are they generally 
inclined to luxury. They do not value wealth merely for 
what it will bring of personal enjoyment. They love it 
for the power it confers to outdo others, and, especially, 
because it enhances the appreciation in which they are 
held among their fellows. It is not exactly respect, much 
less is it esteem; but what the Yankee desires above all 
things is the envy of his fellows. To be looked upon as 
keener, brighter, sharper, stronger, richer, luckier than 
others — that is heaven to him. 


To him all enjoyment is comparative ; happiness has 
no positive degree. 80 long as another excels him — or 
rather, may be thought to excel him — he is not happy. He 
may have all he needs and be absolutely indifferent to acqui- 
sition, but so long as there is any one richer, able to make 
more display, or even to outdo him in ostentatious charity, 
his possessions, however great, are but apples of Sodom. 
There is no fixed standard. All is competitive and com- 
parative. Every man measures himself by another and is 
unhappy until he overtops all about him. 

There is no common level, no unit of affluence which 
brings security, honor and content. Even their pride of 
ancestry is comparative. Brown boasts that his father was 
richer than Jones', though one may have been a butcher 
and the other a blacksmith. It is to this curious Moloch 
that every one offers sacrifice, and it is this pride in out- 
vying others that is the master-jjassion of every life. 

This I began to understand when we met at breakfast 
and, under the external calm which marked her manner, i 
noted Edith's suspicious, stolen glances at her guests. My 
mother's absence was easily excused, and it seemed that 
General Fairbanks had said tlie night before that he would 
drive over early to the Mills, where he would probably pass 
the day. Nothing worthy of note occurred during the 
meal, yet when it was over, I somehow realized as I had 
never done befoi-e, that of all the company who offered the 
young hostess their court, hardly o^ie would deem her 


worthy of their friendship or seek her society should she 
be stripped of wealth. It was not the luxury of her sur- 
roundings, but the supposed ability to be luxurious if she 
chose, that gave her the riglit to be regarded as an equal. 
I could but think how the very misfortune that would 
rally a Southern man's friends most quickly and staunchly 
about him, here scattered them most completely ; and 
began to realize why it was that the most successful sank 
in an iustant from the crest of the wave into utter insig- 
nificance when deprived of superabundant wealth. I saw 
how real was the agony Edith endured, though I could not 
feel its force or sympathize with the sense of degrada- 
tion she experienced. 

After breakfast the company disposed themselves ac- 
cording to their several inclinations. Sagamo Lodge was 
a veritable Liberty Hall at all times, but especially so on 
Sunday. If *' blue-laws" ever prevailed here they had 
been long forgotten. The summer Sabbath is not often 
devoted to worship by the society to which the Fairbanks 
belonged. They are able to feel the consolations of reli- 
gion only in an imposing edifice where eloquence and art 
minister to their enjoyment and fashion makes its most 
dazzling display. They cannot praise God with any sense 
of comfort and propriety where poverty and the past sea- 
son's styles abound. They pity the poor but do not like 
to have them near, and see no reason M'hy saints in pur- 
ple and saints in patches should kneel at- the same altar, 


Few of the company, therefore, attended church that clay. 
Edith excused herself upon the jDlea of attendance upon 
my mother, and the little company of guests scattered 
about as comfort and inclination dictated, I went more 
from force of our universal Southern habit tlian impelled 
by any worshipful mood. To tell the truth, I thought less 
of the service than of my mother. I had never attended 
this church except ia her company, and when I found 
myself alone in the pew I realized for the first time that 
a fate more inexorable than the sparkling sea which 
stretched between, had torn my life from its early moor- 
ings. I was alone iri the world — alone with only Edith 
to serve, to guard, to love. Would I even be permitted to 
love her? 

I was not in a very religious frame of mijid. but 
somehow I felt soothed by the earnest words of the un- 
assuming man who spoke to us of the "hidden way," 
which is lighted up for us only step by step as we advance. 
I have often thought of his discourse since that time, and 
have been encouraged to take steps I might otherwise never 
have attempted. 

When I reached my room I found lying on my table 
a large envelope directed in Edith's hand. I opened it 
and read during the hours of the hot July afternoon, 


It was addressed to Edith and read : — 


** To my daughter : 

" When you read these pages you will have learned the 
need for tlieir inditement. 

" 'J^lie perustil of General Owen's letter to his son, which 
I have just completed, has awakened a very unpleasant con- 
trast between his situation and my own. He indited a let- 
ter of instruction and advice to his son ; I must write one 
of self-defence, almost of apology, to my daughter. He 
wrote upon the eve of his country's downfall — an event he 
did not expect to survive. I am about to leave my country, 
because I am charged with an infraction of her laws. He 
wrote after four years of conflict to establish his country's 
independence ; I after four years of unceasing struggle to 
save my good name and recoup my lost fortune. He fore- 
saw the fate that awaited him — a soldier's death upon the 
field of battle — and knew that whatever the result of the 
strife in which he was engaged, his name would be an in- 
heritance of honor to all who bore it. I know that when 
the sun has risen and set once more, the name I shall sub- 
scribe to this paper will be ineffaceably stained. She who 
alone inherits it from me will flush with anger, if not with 
shame, as she hears it bandied about by jeering lips. He 
went forth to die for his country and her fame ; the glory 



of her brief career shone on his honored grave. I, if I can 
balk tlie minions of the law for one more day, shall go away 
to predetermined self-annihilation. I shall not die, but 
simply fade out of the world's life. The honors I have won 
are forever blighted. My name will be mentioned only with 
qualified approval. He will be honored when I am forgot- 
ten. Yet he fought for the cause that lost ; I for one that 
triumphed. My sword was as bright, my service as signal 
as his. But, alas, I did not die I The battle brought for me 
no flaming chariot of immortality ! All that I had won in 
arms I have lost in the fiercer conflict that succeeded. 

" I know my conduct will not need any defence so far as 
you are concerned, but it may be some satisfaction to know 
the causes that have led to the unfortunate circumstances 
which you will have to confront alone. You remember 
Collyer, who used to be associated with me in business. Just 
before the outbreak of the war he went to the newly dis- 
covered El Dorado, the oil regions of western Pennsylvania. 
There were great opportunities ; he was young, active, in- 
genious and sagacious. Better than any other man, he ap- 
preciated from the first the immensity of the traffic that 
must result from the discovery, and with a sagacity alto- 
gether marvelous he marked out the lines of its develop- 
ment. I had the utmost confidence in his integrity and 
ability. After all that I have xindergone I have only the 
kindest memory of him. If he did exceed the limit of legal 
risrht it was to save others rather than himself. If the re- 


suits he antic-ipated were not achieved it was because forces 
were developed in the financial and political world which 
uo foresight could have divined. Poor fellow, if my lot has 
been hard, his was infinitely worse. His children will 
never know the humiliation you will be comjielled to face, 
because they never knew since they have reached mature 
years the affluence you will have to surrender. Of all our 
acquaintances, however, I doubt if there are any who will 
so sincerely mourn the misfortunes that have overtaken me 
as the widow and her little brood in the thriving Pennsyl- 
vania town, who do not know that the modest dwelling 
which overlooks the scene of her husband's triumphs was 
not saved for her out of his estate but given her by the very 
man who suffered most through his failure. 

" Collyer saw that the great opportunity really lay in re- 
fining and transporting the new product. The world 
seemed to have waited as long as it could for cheap lights. 
We had gas in the cities, to be sure, but that was both a 
luxury and a burden. The poor could not afford it nor was 
it available in the country, where five-sixths of the popula- 
tion of the world is to be found. The supply of petroleum is 
apparently inexhaustible and it practically costs nothing. 
It is as if the basin of one of our great lakes was full of liquid 
naphtha free to all, requiring only to be refined and stored 
and transported. The average cost of getting a gallon of oil 
to the surface of the ground, taking all that has been produced 
since its discovery, has not been a tenth of a cent a gallon. 


So, too, deducting for storage, piping, etc., the producer — 
that is the owner of tlie well, as distinguished from the re- 
liner and transporter — has not averaged on his yield so 
much as a cent a gallon. Yet the average price to the con- 
sumer has up to this time been not less than forty cents a 

'^Something of this discrepancy Avas for a time due to 
the cost of refining the crude product. Collyer saw that this 
was destined to be a great industry and oi'ganized a com- 
liany to engage in it. He also gave attention to imjn'oved 
modes of storing and devices for handling and transport- 

"He asked me to join with him in this enterprise, which 
I did and was made president of the company. As such I 
had to sign the certificates of stock of the corporation 
Being absent in the army it was impossible for me to give 
the business my personal attention. Indeed, there was no 
need that I should. Collyer was the secretary and treas- 
urer and entirely capable of managing the business. I signed 
the certificates in blank and left them in his hands. I do 
not know how many of them there were. 

' ' You can readily guess what followed. Unfortunately 
the story is not an unusual one. The tragedies of com- 
merce are not less pitiful than those of war and far more 
numerous. Before the war ended, it became apparent that 
a new economical, social and political force had been created 
and had become an important element of all business trans- 


actions and every political movement. The states of the 
Union had for a rjuurter of a century been so intent upon 
a sudden development of their resources, that they had 
created a monopoly of the right to transport goods and pas- 
sengers by steam of a singularly exclusive character. Quite 
unconscions of the importance and character of the new- 
born agency of traffic, they had used their power of emi- 
nent domain with a recklessness that left them, when the 
men and tlie hour came, the helpless victims of their own 
creatures. Instead of using the sovereign power for the 
public advantage and limiting the charters of the various 
railroads strictly to the uses and privileges api^ertaining 
to the public highway, they in efifect gave the managers and 
controllers of these roads a complete monoi)oly of the right 
to transport goods and passengers by steam. 

*' It is hardly strange that such unlimited privileges were 
so freely granted, for no one was at that time aware of the 
immensity of the power thus placed in the hands of ficti- 
tious personages, created by law and existing only by the 
public favor, nor did any one understand what tremendous 
agencies they might become. No one knew at that time 
what we are beginning now to understand, that the business 
of transportation is by all odds the greatest of human in- 
dustries, being the one on which all others are dependent. 
No one realized that within forty years after the first loco- 
motive was set upon the rough track which the sovereign 
power of a state permitted to be laid, the whistle of the 


eiigme ^'ould be the trumpet blast of a power to whicli all 
must bend. AVe did not dream that every business and 
profession would be dependent for its success, directly or 
indirectly, upon the will of those who should have the con- 
trol of this terrible agency. No one imagined that within a 
single lifetime, agriculture itself would shrink into insignifi- 
cance beside this marvelous force, and that even the far- 
mer at his plough would be among the most abject subjects 
of its jDOwer. Xo dreamer was mad enough to predict that 
every pound of food the great West could produce and every 
article of manufacture the gieat East could devise, would 
be taxed to the limit of the subject-laborer's endurance to 
pay tribute to this mystic force, based on law, supported by 
the invincible power of aggregated wealth, guarded by cun- 
ning and protected by the weakness of its foes. No one 
even guessed that products of nature, which are almost as 
abundant as air and water and almost as needful to 
civilized existence, would be guarded, restricted and doled 
out by a fortunate few to the unfortunate many. 

"■ We were blind, of course, but who oould guess that six 
men would be able to put their seals upon the galleries 
that lead to God's great storehouse of warmth — the coal 
deposits that underlie His eternal hills — and compel the 
poor to buy at their own price ? Who could have foreseen 
that a product, almost as cheaply secured as water, by the 
marvelous power of combined privilege should be held at 
the beck of one man ? Who would have imagined that the 

258 J^i ^^ ii 1' Y ■ N INE. 

lightning, which hardly a (luarter of a century ago was 
taught to do man's bidding, would ever become the slave 
of one man — the means by which a whole continent is com- 
pelled to pay tribute to his nuitchless hardiiiood ? 

'' Too late we are learning the power of the demons we 
have evoked from nothingness. At the time of which 1 
write we were taking our first lessons. Huch men as Drew 
and Vanderbilt and Fiskaud Gould had just begun to show 
what wonderful things the undefined conditions of our 
modern life are, for jugglers like them to conjure with; how 
the strong by combining could swallow the weak and the 
law be made the cover rather than the bane of robbery ; 
how millions might be taken for notliiug and hunger and 
cold be made the collectors of unlawful tribute. They were 
giving us the first lessons in debasing enterprise, suppress- 
ing competition and making the general aspiration sub- 
servient to their relentless greed. We ought to have seen 
what was at hand, but we did not, and I was as blind as my 
fellows — as blind then and as weak now I 

" So too, was Collyer. He saw — but it was too late ! In 
his efforts to save those associated with him he fell irre- 
trievably. It was just at the close of the war. I hastened, 
as you know, to his aid. The glamour of military renown 
■was about me. I was thought also to be far more wealthy 
than I really was. 

'' Collyer's enterprises had been at first successful. He 
reaped the usual and just reward of foresight and sagacity. 


Then the intangible force of unlawfully combined enemies, 
armed with public power and holding the avenues of ingress 
and egress to his works, was arrayed against him. The 
power of the State, the sword of the law, was thrown into 
the scales. He struggled bravely. If he passed the limit 
of legal right, let us not blame him. Perhaps my confidence 
tempted. It is certain that the law, which commanded his 
obedience, lent itself to his unjust slaughter. When I came 
he was hopelessly involved, and justice had laid its heavy 
hand upon him. 

"I managed to save the company with which I was con- 
nected from immediate disaster. Collyer bequeathed me 
the knowledge he had gained, the titles he had acquired, the 
inventions he had secured, the forecasts he had made. He 
commended his family to my care and breathed his last in 
the confines of a prison. I took \\y) the fight, confident of 
success. Creditors were lenient. The problem seemed 
easy. And so it was, but for the unknown and unknowa- 
ble quantities which legal privilege had interjected into it. 
Had competition been open and unrestricted I could hardly 
have failed of success. So, too, if I had yielded to the de- 
mands of those who controlled the avenues of suj^ply and 
demand — had surrendered to a band of arrogant conspira- 
tors the key of our works and accepted from them what 
they chose to give — I might have been permitted to continue 
as a tributary dependent. 

"No doubt, it would have been wiser to have done so. 


It is always folly to fight overwhelming odds. A man is 
powerless against the state or those armed with its authority. 
\yhat then shall be said of a combination wielding the 
l)ower of three States and backed by more than a billion of 
dollars ? What merchantman shall resist a fleet of pirates 
protected by the flag of a sovereign ? Collyer, in those 
last sad days, advised against resistance. Poor fellow ! 
Experience had taught him wisdom. The accuracy of his 
forecast was amazing. He seemed to know every branch 
and armlet of the subterranean sea Avhich had been so 
oi^portunely tapped, and able to tell with unerring instinct 
the course of future events. 

"'These three roads,' he would say, pointing to the 
combined lines, ' command every avenue of apj)roach to tlie 
enchanted ground. Every gallon of oil must pay tribute 
to them on its way to the refinery and again upon its way 
to market. By-and-by, other means of transport will be 
found. If they can be made free to all it is possible that 
the power of this combination may be broken. The danger 
is that they will control these also. Three gigantic rail- 
roads, owning and administering the power of three 
States, are not easily balked of their purpose. And the con- 
trol of this Avonderful produce of nature is a prize that may 
well tempt men to any hazard. The treasures which 
Pizarro wrested from the Incas have dazzled the imagina- 
tion of the world for four centuries. But the control of 
the petroleum product of America — the great empire of 

EIGHT r-NTXE. 361 

Naphtha — for a score of years is worth a dozen times the 
phinder of Peru. They will buy voters, legislators, judges, 
governors, congressmen, senators — until the whole fabric of 
government is under the absolute control of them and their 
associates. They are Just beginning to learn their own 
poAver. They will meet some reverses. They will seem to 
suffer defeats. Restraining laws will be enacted. The 
courts will fulminate against them. But the process of 
consolidation wall continue to go on. The greater will 
swallow the less, and these will divide with each other the 
tribute of a subjugated people. In less than a generation 
the nation wall be powerless in their hands. It will struggle ; 
it will writhe, but in the end it will yield. 

" 'Within a quarter of a century ten men will hold in 
their hands the fate of every business in the land. The 
success of every farmer, manufacturer and merchant, will 
be dependent on their pleasure. They will make the en- 
terprise of the whole country subservient to their greed. 
You do not believe it, but you will see. You do not be- 
lieve it possible to enslave the American peojjle ? There 
is no need. They have only to show them how to enslave 
themselves. They are not anxious for the show of power. 
All they want is the substance. They have only to humor 
the underlying tendencies, and in a few more years wealth 
will be the only test of merit and respectability and the 
millionaire or his creature, will be the only man selected 
to legislate or administer the powder of government. 


" At the best, it is the few strong against the many 
weak. They will be in no huste. They know they have 
only to Avait, and the wealth of the millions will surely find 
its way into the vaults of the few. A man with a hundred 
millions has only to be patient and the weak whom he holds 
in his power will in a few years make it a billion. We 
liave yet no billionaire, but we soon shall have. A quarter 
of a century ago we had scarcely ten millionaires. Xow there 
arc hundreds. How have they grown ? By feeding upon 
others. Every overgrown fortune in the land has come from 
swallowing u^) some hundreds or thousands of lesser ones. 
The wliole philosophy of mammoth acquisitions is embraced 
in one phrase : ' The big fisli live upon the little ones.' The 
true theory of success is not to fight the l>ig ones but to 
pursue steadily after the multitude of little ones. Do not 
try to tight tJic sliarks but chase the herring. Make your 
peace with the men whom I have antagonized. Help them 
carry out their plans ; point their game for them ; help 
them to run it down and — r/ct your share of the offal!" 


" I used to smile at these tirades of Collyer's and tell 
him that disappointment had made liim cynical. A man 
in jail for the misuse of commercial opportunity may be 
forgiven for feeling envious. So I gave little heed to his 
words. He did not claim any merit, but said he would 
have done the same as those of whom he warned me. Per- 
haps he would. He worshiped success as we all do. 

"I wonder that I did not take his advice. I had need 
of success, and did not think it very rej^rehensible to do 
almost anything the law permitted. Of course, we have, 
or profess to have, a standard of right and wrong outside 
of the limitations of the law, but it is a sham. What 
fails is wrong ; what succeeds is right. That is our 
practical morality. In society, politics and business there 
is no other. In the church — well, there is a prejudice 
there against certain forms of money-getting ; rather 
because they are vulgar than because they are wrong, 
however. The church objects to the dramseller but exults 
in the keen-witted believer who builds himself up on the 
ruin of others. He who has wealth, even though acquired 
by the most questionable means, is far more welcome there 
than he without pelf. This is not the fault of Christianity 
but of our education, training, development. We have 

264 EIG H T Y- NINE. 

carried the slangy doctrine of ' Every man for himself ' 
so far that its accustomed conclusion, '' the devil for the 
whole/' has become an accepted corollary. As a people. 
we delight in doing charity, l)ut are ashamed to do justice. 
We would rather be swallowed by the strong than admit 
our inability to cope with them single-handed. 

" I neglected Collyer's advice but did not forget his pre- 
dictions. Alas, 1 have lived to see too many of them ful- 
filled, lie confessed that he had abused my confidence. 
Of the stock of the company more than double the num- 
ber of lawful shares were hypothecated for our indebted- 
ness. For this I was legally responsible and addressed 
myself at once to the task of their redemption. It was 
not difficult, with the prestige attaching then to my name, 
by paying a part of them, to obtain extensions. The last 
of these expires upon your birthday. All the rest of the 
stock has been taken up and cancelled. The amount held 
for this is nearly equal to the whole number of lawful 
shares. The holders suspect an over-issue and have se- 
cured my indictment for participation in it. With this 
they hope to compel compliance with their wishes. They 
will not succeed. If the scheme on which I rely should 
fail, there is one other way out of the difficult}-. What- 
ever happens, you will be spared the shame of seeing your 
father in the hands of the law, 

" Yet the terms they offered were not so bad. If they 
had not included you I think I should have accepted them, 


much as I hate the Rock Oil Trust and hot as the fight has 
been between us. They have onh^ done what the 
times and public sentiment encouraged them to do. They 
may have takeii undue advantage of the law's defects and 
paid little heed to its warnings, knowing that they had its 
administrators securely in hand. The head of the con- 
cern, Stoninghani, is a very liberal, pious man. lie gives 
away a great deal of money for charity and the church. 
They tell me he is very strict and fervent in his family devo- 
tions, and pretty much supports a theological seminary. I 
do not understand it, but I presume the man sees little 
if any wrong in what he does through this corporate 
agency. He is no doubt sincere in his religious convic- 
tions. That is the worst of it, that we have come to think 
there is no wrong in anything we do if it is only beyond 
the reach of the law. 

" My fight has been a hard one. Despite the odds of 
the mighty combination against me, I succeeded for a 
time. It only shows the immense profits of the business, 
that I did so. Collyer's experience and advice helped me. 
As I said, he seemed to have foreseen all that has come to 
pass. His wise forecast enabled me to take advantage of 
the discovery of new oil fields. It was a wonderful thing. • 
"We came near overthrowing the power of the great monop- 
oly, even with the great railroads at its back. Many of the 
associated producers and refiners thought we had done so, 
and they began to prey on each other. We soon saw our 

•i(^e EIGHT Y- NIN E . 

mistake. It was a success that helped me out of our diffi- 
culties, however. I paid off all my debts except a note 
that falls due on your birthday. That I could not find. 
After a time I became aware that the Rock Oil Trust held 
it. I sent an agent to offer principal and interest, but they 
would not accept payment. 

''Then came the new method of transporting — by pipe- 
lines. Collyer had foreseen it and bought some, perhaps 
all, of tlie patents that cover the simple process by which 
it is forced fi-om station to station, half across a continent. 
It should stretch from sea to sea an unrestricted common 
carrier. We procured a charter ; a short experimental line 
was laid, and we thought our great oppressor was van- 
quished. It was a foolish exultation. Hardly Avas the 
efficiency of the new system proved when we found it con- 
trolled by our old enemy. What else could have been ex- 
pected ? With three of the greatest railroad systems of 
the world combined against us, wielding the power of the 
three greatest States in the Union, why should they not 
prevail ? Men are but human, Avhether they be sharehold- 
ers, legislators or Judges, and the law is very weak when 
it is confronted by a combination that controls a billion 
dollars and is able to make or mar the fortunes of three 
out of every five business men in the whole region lying 
along its lines. What is the use of talking of freedom and 
right and justice in a country where such power is con- 
trolled by one man, who is all the more dangerous because 


he sincerely believes he has an inalienable right to do what- 
ever he is able to do — that capacity to accomplish is the 
real limit of moral right ? 

" Up to this time the conflict had been impersonal 
That was a little more than a year ago. About that time 
an armistice was tacitly arranged and overtures for peace 
were made, at first vague and undefined, through trusted 
subordinates. Then the embargo was raised, and I was 
permitted for a time to see what would be the profits of my 
business if the hostility of the Rock Oil Trust was removed. 
Even I was surprised. I had never realized how vast its 
network of agencies and how great its army of dependents. 
I was amazed to learn that four-fifths of the retailers of 
the refined product throughout the country were subject 
to its control. 

" Then I had an interview with Stoningham. He pro- 
posed an alliance — that they should be allowed to use 
openly — as I am assured tliey have done secretly — the pro- 
cess of continuous distillation Avhich poor Collyer invented. 
By this the cost is reduced many fold. This alone had 
enabled me to continue the fight while scores of enterpris- 
ing independent refiners were crushed by the power of the 
conspiracy. Stoningham had learned, too, the accuracy of 
Colly er's predictions, and proposed that the options he had 
secured in regions not apparently productive of oil should 
be held for the joint benefit, that our works and facilitiea 
should be appraised and I be allowed a proportionate share 

268 EIG H T Y- N I y E . 

of the entire business with equal advantages in storing and 
transporting with the great Trust and its other dependen- 
cies. You will think them liberal terms for a defeated foe, 
and I am bound to admit that they were — so liberal that I 
was surprised until 1 found what they covered, or rather 
what was coupled with them. 

'^ I made no response to these overtures, half-suspecting 
something beneath them. Even when Stoningham went 
off into encomiums of his lieutenant, Martling, I did not at 
first perceive his purpose. It was only when your name 
Avas mentioned that I understood it all. It was intimated 
that the note and the collateral might be made a wediling 
present, lie deftly hinted that an over-issue of stock was 
a crime punishable with imprisonment. Then I saw his 
drift. The Rock Oil Trust had me in its power. They 
would crush my business, ruin my good name and imprison 
my body. All this I realized iu an instant. If I would 
sell you to Mr. Martling and give up to them the secrets 
Collyer had bequeathed me for my own benefit and the 
comfort of his loved ones, they would make me their ally. 
That was the ultimatum. 

" I am surprised that I did not once think of accepting 
these terms. I was only afraid the circumstances would 
come to your knowledge and that you would insist upon 
sacrificiug yourself for me. Somehow the idea of disgrace 
had ceased to be terrible. I had faced it as a possibility so 
long, that now it came in the form of a covert threat I 


scarcely heeded it. I only wished to save you, I knew 
your love but dreaded your jiride. Once 1 would have 
died rather than leave you a dislionored name. Now I 
began to wonder whether it was dislionored — whether an 
upright life and honest purpose were really at the mercy of 
a vengeful enemy because of one unconscious act for Avhich 
no one had suffered. 

*' So I merely sought to gain time. I said that I could 
not interfere with your preferences. A truce was arranged 
between us. I felt humiliated by the thought of having 
allowed your name even to be mentioned in the matter, but 
I was helpless before this mysterious enemy whose power I 
had so fully tested. 

" For some months all went well. I knew it could not 
last, however, and was all the time j^lanning to foil our 
enemies. I was conscious of being constantly under espio- 
nage. I knew that my clerks and employees were being 
tampered with. The Rock Oil octopus did not mean to 
let its prey escape. When at length I attended to nego- 
tiate means to pay the debt, intending to assent to your 
marriage immediately upon Mr. Owen's graduation, and 
defy them to do their worst with the criminal charge, 
— then it was that I first learned tbe real character of the 
enemy with whom I had to deal. I was warned that your 
intimacy with Ryal must cease, tbat his mother must leave 
my house and that my efforts to negotiate a loan would be 
frustrated. As I paid no heed to these threats I soon be- 


gan to find my business suffering in consequence. My 
plans Avere thwarted ; supplies were cut olf so that it be- 
came impossible to fill my contracts. My shipments were 
delayed. The oil that passed through the pipes was adul- 
terated or changed in transit. Leakage and waste became 
enormous. Suits were instigated against me. My works 
bcame suddenly unreliable and the product mysteriously 
diminished. Through an old army friend I negotiated a 
conditional sale of your estate to be consummated on your 
birthday, if you desired. Tlirough him, too, I conveyed 
to you, under certain conditions, the valuable options and 
inventions received from Collyer. Then I began to feel 
secure. When the threats were repeated — vague hints 
coming through lips which were ignorant of the mean- 
ing of the words they uttered — I answei'ed defiantly. 

"Just at this time my works were burned. The loss was 
not so very great, only it happened to take about all that 
I had remaining. The fact of absolute financial ruin burst 
upon me. I saw with an indescribable terror the dilemma 
in which you were placed. I saw, too, my own peril. 
Should I refuse to sacrifice you, the fate poor Collyer had 
suffered seemed to recruit me. I knew that without 
money I should be without friends and, iu a conflict with 
such an enemy, without hope. I knew the fire was incen- 
diary and was satisfied that it was instigated by some one 
closely connhcted with the great Monopoly ; but I could 
prove nothing. My employees were un trust Avorthy. I 


managed to get a hold upon one and he confessed enough 
to convict himself and set me on the track of others. 
Soon lie canit' to me in terror. His life had been threat- 
ened. The next night he was fired ujjon. A few days 
after he had another escape. He seemed surrounded with 
enemies. 'J^hen he was charged with crime and thrown into 
prison. I bailed him out and procured him employment 
in a distant city. Within a week the house in which he 
lived was burned. His life seemed constantly in peril. 

" Then the threats changed to promises. Golden lures 
were thickly spread along his path. He was offered 
fabulous opportunities by unknown parties. Strangers 
sought him out and offered him large sums to do the most 
simple tasks. All at once he was gone. I knew he had 
been spirited away. Whether he is alive or dead I do not 

" Then I felt that I must, at all events, free myself from 
the toils surrounding me and leave you at liberty to secure 
happiness with as little opprobrium on my account as pos- 
sible. To me there seems but one way out of the diffi- 
culty. If we succeed in eluding the vigilance of our enemy, 
they must either give up the prosecution they have set on 
foot or do without tiieir money. If yon offer to pay 
my debt, of course you will demand the surrender of the 
security they hold, and they cannot take advantage of your 
generosity without losing their revenge. In other words, 
if the Rock Oil people accept your money they will have to 


give up the collateral, and the criminal prosecution must 
then fail. If they do not accept the money offered, it may 
be convenient, some time, for developing tlie great oil fields 
in which Collyer sunk his borrowed capital. 

" The fact that Kyal's mother goes with me will release 
you from any sense of public odium, should you fail to re- 
deem my note. It will naturally be inferred that I have 
yielded to her fascinations and absconded with money im- 
properly obtained. It will come out after a time that we were 
privately married some weeks ago, but the fact will be very 
little noticed, and the great mass of the people will always 
look u2ion it as an elopement as well as a defalcation. 

*'And now, my dear daughter, you will have to act for 
yourself. I do not doubt as to what you will do. As I 
have thought only of you, I know you will be inclined to 
think only of me. To a certain extent, I shall not object 
to this. I shall be glad to know tliat you have tendered 
payment for the last dollar I owe, tliat my honor has been 
protected though my reputation may be scotched. Farther 
than that I forbid you to think of going. I have sacrificed 
my pride to save your love. Do not think of sacrificing 
your love in a vain attempt to save my good name. Be 
content that your father has acted neither dishonorably nor 
cowardly, though he may seem to have done both ; that he 
has contracted an honorable alliance with a noble woman, 
whose courage and devotion have not only won his love 


but stimulated his determination to retrieve his misfor- 

"I am, it is true, compelled to leave my native land — 
not self -exiled, but driven out by the fear of obloquy. That 
is the real fact. If one might really be poor and yet re- 
spectable within her borders, no enemy should boast of 
having seen my back. This is the hardest wrench of all. 
You know something of my adoration for our country — a 
worship not so much attaching to the realm or the nation- 
ality of the Great Eepublic as for that Northern life, the 
spirit of enterprise, individuality and equal opportunity of 
Avhich we have so long boasted as the very essence of Ameri- 
canism. I can not tell you how bitterly I suffer as I con. 
template the fact that the ills of the joresent are a legitimate 
result of the folly of the past. "We have carried our rage 
for liberty so far that it has become the apology and excuse 
for wrong ; until the right to achieve has become insepara- 
ble in our minds from the right to destroy. Pride in indi- 
vidual success, in financial achievement, has grown to such 
a pitch that all else is counted dross. Excellence, virtue 
and honor are all measured by the dollar. Intellect is 
nothing unless gilded ; virtue is without esteem unless 
securely placed on a gold basis. I do not blame others for 
this. All my life I have been, more or less, the slave of 
this impulse. At first it was half unconscious and had not 
then the opportunity for development that these later days 
have brought. I doubt if anything but misfortune would 


have taught me its hideous character. Even Stoningham, 
with all the woeful acts that lie at his door, with all the 
poverty and shame he has heaped on others, and the 
wrongs he has inspired, is not only a natural result of our 
past, but really a product of its best and sweetest life. The 
purest blood of New England Hows in his veins. He was 
reared amid the perfume of Christian charity and rectitude. 
He is even now a zealot who would suffer martyrdgm for 
his faith. He loves his country, too, and upon occasion 
would no doubt do as much, perhaps a great deal more, 
than I have over done for its defence. He considers it no 
harm — perhaps oven not a matter of wrong — to thwart its 
laws, corrupt its officials or oppress its people. Perhaps I 
would have done the same in his place. I do not blame 
— I hardly dare to blame — I only mourn the shattering of 
my idol. 

" 1 go away, but I hope to return. Some speculative 
investments in another land, made in the days of my pros- 
perity, give a prospect of retrieving my fortunes. K that 
hope is justified, I trust yet to do something to awaken my 
countrymen from the lethargy which has overtaken their 
better natures, and release them from the fetters our own 
foolish pride has forged. The Rock Oil people will no 
doubt believe themselves to have ruined another presump- 
tuous competitor and congratulate themselves that another 
obstacle to a complete monopoly of one of nature's most 
abundant and beneficent products is crushed. I hope 


to disappoint their expectations, not alone to avenge my 
own wrongs — though I would by no means deny the force 
of such motive — but in the overthrow of this mighty usur- 
pation, to teach the peril of unguarded privilege. I do 
not expect to cure the evils of our civilization. I am 
neither a statesman nor a reformer, but as a great catas- 
trophe very often points the way to the adoption of better 
methods, I hope to do something to make this giant wrong 
a notable example and a warning that will not soon be for- 
gotten. For what I am about to do let this letter be to 
you my apology. Time alone can bring to the world its 
justification. If assured of your happines, mine will be 
complete. Without that nothing can make tolerable the 
life I saved but for your sake. 

Your father, 

Ambrose Fairbanks." 

This, then, was the crime that had driven a brave and 
worthy man into exile. 

If he had violated any law, it had been without in- 
tent, and no one had suffered so much as a farthing's worth 
by his act. He did not complain. The instinct of obedi- 
ence to the law was so strong with him that even at the 
last extremity he did not murmur. Even in that supreme 
moment he thought of his country rather than himself. 


and looked forward with curious apprehension to a future 
when the creatures of the law should control every function 
of government. The very prosecutor, whose hand was 
armed with legal terrors for his chastisement, was himself 
a notable instance of legal privilege supported and main- 
tained in the pursuit of unrighteous ends. 

Alas I even his imagination, fired by the sting of his 
own agony, could not guess the height of insolence to 
which power, builded on a legal fiction, but worshiped as 
the holiest of holy things by a people with whom the right 
to gather and possess is accounted the supremest privilege 
of liberty, within a decade would exhibit. He did not 
dream that it would defy the will of its creator, mock ai 
the sovereign power of a state, refuse to submit to the 
scrutiny of the national goA'ernment, league itself with a 
hundred like organizations to control other and yet more 
wonderful products of nature, and form an unsanctified 
alliance by which hundreds of millions of dollars were 
placed at the disposal of a single man. 


I saw but little of Edith during the day. Towards 
evening I heard a knock upon the door leading into my 
mother s room, and, when I opened it, she entered. To the 
pallid dejection of the morning was added now a look of 
positive terror. 

" What is it ?" I asked in alarm. 

She went to the window and pointed towards the river. 

*'The house is watched," she said, as if the words were 
the very knell of hope. I looked towards the landing. 
The white-hatted man was there. A little way up the 
path at the side of the house another man was strolling 
back and forth. 

" Much good it will do them," I said, with some satis- 
faction in my tone. 

" Oh, Ryal, how can you ! What if the people in the 
house should find it out !" 

" I think the best thing we can do is to tell them the 
whole story." 

"li would kill me!" 

Looking at her strained face and drooping figure I 
began to fear it might. 

" But they must know it sometime." 

"I shall not see them afterwards "—with a shrug. 


" Oh, I know you think me very weak and so I am. You 
must help me. If we can only get through this matter and 
get away before it is in everybody's mouth ! Do you sup- 
pose the morning papers will have it ?" 

" To-morrow ? I should judge not. If the Rock Oil 
people think your father is here, they will make no move 
until to-morrow. If they suspect his absence they will wait 
to see you before beginning operations." 

" Do you think Mr. Martling will — ?" She paused as 
if unwilling to proceed . 

'' Do I think he will ask you for your hand ? There 
is no doubt of it." 

" Could he stop this thing — hush it up — get those peo- 
ple away, I mean ?" with a disgusted gesture towards the de- 

"No doubt — if his terms were complied with.'* 

She turned towards the window so that I could not 
see her face. 

" And those terms ?" 

" You know them as well as 1." 

" You think he would accept no other ?" 

" See here, Edith," I said, almost angrily, " I know 
what is in your mind. You are wondering whether the 
prosecution against your father would be withdrawn and 
the matter hushed up, if you should promise to become 
Martling's wife. You could never do such a thing if you 


" I — might— promise." 

" Then you would have to fulfill." 

" I might not — be — alive." 

''Edith r 

" I shall not live — very long." 

" But, Edith, you can secure what you desire much 
more easily than by the means you intimate." 

" How ?" She turned towards me with a look of eager 

" I think your father has magnified the importance of 
Mr. Martling's wish. What the man at the head of the 
great oil monopoly wants is not so much an alliance be- 
tween you and Martling as the property and franchises your 
father holds. If you choose to surrender these — which I 
understand will be assigned to you — I have no doubt they 
will seiTe both as a ransom for yourself and a release for 
your father. If you pay the debt and assign to them what 
they think your father controls, the prosecution will be 
dropped and you will be allowed to do what you choose." 

*' And Mr. Martling ?" 

** Mr. Martling will do as Mr. Stoningham bids." 

" And you — you advise this course ?" 

*' Not at all. I would pay the debt, demand the se- 
curities and let them do their worst." 

'' But then—?" 

*' There is no need to go over the ground again," I in- 
terrupted. "That is all there is of it." 


''And they want to compel my father to give up these 
things — this property ?' 

'' Of course. That is why they are pressing the prose- 

" And they think I will surrender them ?" 

'• They probably do not know you are to have them." 

'* But you — what do you think ?" 

'' Oil,. I think it would be a great deal better to give 
them up than to marry a man you do not love," I re- 
sponded laughingly. 

She did not answer. After a time she said in a very 
different tone : 

*' Can I make a will, Ryal ?" 

I blushed. It was the first time my opinion on a legal 
subject had been asked in earnest. I tried to think what 
her rights — the rights of an infant /ewe sole — in respect to 
testamentary bequests were, but could not. Determined 
not to err in advising my first client, I replied cautiously : 

" To-morrow you can." 

" Will you prepare a will for me as I may direct ?" 

She did not know how flattered I was by this display 
of confidence in my legal ability. 

*' Certainly; when shall I do it ?" 

'•' Now — if you are willing, that is." 

"All right." I took out my pencil and sat down at 
the table ready to take notes. 

^' Well r 


" All that I have — all my estate, yon call it, don't 



" Yes — real and personal ?'' 

" I suppose so — every tiling." 

" To whom ?" 

" Can I leave it to any one I choose — my father, for in- 
stance ?" 


**' And if I should wish any particular thing to be done 
with it — or a part of it ?" 

*' You can either direct or request it to be done." 

" Yes ?" 

*' The one compels, the other leaves discretionary the 
application of the bequest." 

''Thanks. Let it be a request." 

" To apply as you shall otherwise direct ?" 

" Yes. You may leave the name blank." 

''Very well ; you can write in the descrij)tion." 

" The description ?" She turned towards me, but I was 
so intent on serving my first client tliat I did not look up. 

"Yes; the full name and residence, you know; so as to 
secure certainty, as to the legatee." 

" Oh. That I can do any time to-morrow." 

" Any time after twelve to-night." 

"It must be witnessed, I suppose — or something ?" 

" By three persons whom you must inform that it is 


your will. You must sign it in their presence and they in 

" You will write out the directions, please?" 

" All right. Is there anything more ?" 

" Not that I remember. I may be very weak, but I 
will not surrender what my father is so anxious to hold." 

I looked up in surprise. She was standing at the end 
of the table at which I wrote, looking down at me with an 
anxious, troubled expression. Could it be that she was so 
mercenary that she could coolly think of sacrificing herself 
to secure immunity from scandalous aspersion, yet would 
defy public opinion for the sake of money ? I could not 
understand her. For a moment I think my love faltered. 
Yet it was only the instinct of her people. The shame of 
failure completely overwhelmed her ; the thought of de- 
fending her father's property acted as a tonic to her nerves. 
She would rather die than be talked about, but rather be 
talked about than yield to an unjust demand. She noted 
my hesitation. 

''Eyal," she said, pleadingly, "you will not be angry 
with me ?" 

I took her hand and raised it to my lips. 

" You have sworn to be my knight, you know," she 
added, with a little nervous laugh. 

" And I will keep my oath." 

" Then go away in the morning — please.'' 

" Where ?"— moodily. 


"Why not ride into town?" 

" For what ?" 

''I thought you might have — some — business — there." 

What was it in her tone that made me look up, and 
what was the new expression I saw in her face ? A soft 
color had stolen over her cheeks, and her eyes had a tender, 
humid glow. What wild fancy possessed my brain ? I 
could hardly command my voice to say, 

*' And I may return — when V 

" You could come by noon, I suppose ?" 

** Long before," — with eager emiDhasis. 

" No — that will be soon enough— soon enough — but 
Ryal " — she bent quickly over the corner of the table and 
whispered in my ear — " I shall want to go away from here 
at once." 

There was a quick rustle and the door into my mother's 
room was shut and the bolt shot quickly into place on tlie 
other side. I sat dazed, wouderiug Avhether I had had a 
dream or whether what had passed were simple fact. 

That night I prepared the will and made my plans for 
the future, but slept very little. Before the guests were 
astir in the morning I was mounted and away. I did not 
see Edith, but as I galloped off I heard a shutter carefully 
turned and felt that she was watching my departure. The 
man with the white hat was strolling along the river bank. 


It was over. 

The guests were gone — all but oue or two of the hum- 
bler sort, who would not go while there was aught that 
they could do to cheer or serve. A pall seemed to have 
settled over the house. People were gathered near gaz- 
ing at it curiously. I saw them point towards me and 
exchange comments as I rode up. The officials, who had 
watched the premises so closely during the Sabbath, had 
disappeared. Men with pencils in their hands were loi- 
tering about the gate, standing near the door — actually 
peeping into the windows. The thirst for scandal, which 
is a consuming lire in the breasts of the Northern people, 
had fastened upon Sagamo Lodge and its occupants as vic- 
tims. The law had loosed its hold and the press had taken 
its place. 

What did the law want ? Who were the victims it 
sought, and for what offense ? What heart might be torn ? 
What reputation blasted ? What hope blighted ? These 
were the questions the harpies of the press asked them- 
selves as they watched and pried and guessed and quizzed, 
as though in the performance of a solemn duty, — the 
exercise of an inalienable right. 

The public conscience among those people has become 


SO debauched by daily doses of prurient and horrible detail 
that private right and individual character are without 
safeguard or consideration in that region. Woman's vir- 
tue and man's honor are no longer matters of any moment 
in the estimation of this singular people, who pride them- 
selves upon a peculiar regard for morality and an especial 
devotion to individual right. Practically, there is but one 
kind of defamation for which the press is there ever held 
responsible — the imputation of a lack of financial ability to 
a man of wealth. This is counted an assault on the palladium 
of liberty. An employe may be accused of peculation or 
fraud or a poor man denounced as a trickster or a thief, in 
full-faced capitals, and if, by-and-bye, he is able to obtain 
a retraction in unleaded agate, he may thank his stars and 
the unforced courtesy of the manager. Of whatever affects 
the financial status or commercial integrity of the rich or 
supposedly rich, however, the Northern journalist is very 
chary. And well he may be, for he knows that the law 
reserves its Gorgon terrors for such offenses. All things 
else he may assail without fear of court or jury, law or 
bailiff ; but let him beware how he touches the rich man's 
credit or impugns his power to pay. Ah, well ; all peo- 
ples worship something, and it only happens that our 
brethren of the North exalt into the highest place the 
power to accumulate — the reputation of ability to pay — 
and naturally defend most rigorously what they prize most 
highly ! 


As I sprang from my horse I found myself beset by 
half-a-dozen of these importunate agents of the great 
news-mongering power. 

*'How much will it amount to?" asked one. The 
others listened, pencil in hand. 

'' What ? " I asked. 

" The defalcation, of course." 

" Whose ? " 

*' Why, General Fairbanks's." 

" Not u cent." 

"Isn't he 'short'?" 

"Not a dollar." 

"Pay his debts?" 

"All he owes." 

" Like to buy some of his paper ?" 

" All you will bring." 

" The devil ! " 

I smiled sardonically and started up the steps. 

" Hold on a minute." 

One of them had stepped before me. 

" Know anything 'bout this woman that went off with 
him ? " 

" She is my mother." I heard a titter behind me. 

" Married ? " 

" A month ago." 

" No mistake about that ?" He looked at me with a 
significant leer. The next instant he was sprawling on the 


ground. He had touched my idol and I had resented it in 
true Southern fashion. Then I turned upon the others, 
white with wrath : 

" Gentlemen, I have answered your questions frankly. 
General Fairbanks married my mother more than a month 
ago. If any one dares to write, publish or hint a word in 
derogation of her character I will kill him if I ever get 
within arm's length of him.'' 

I spoke in a very low tone. I was too angry to speak 

" Don't blame you a bit," said the one I had knocked 
down, scrambling to his feet, " And you must not blame 
us. We have to do it. The worse the scandal the 
better the story. That's business, you know, no matter 
whether it's your mother or mine. I shall say they are 
married though. Can you tell me anything more ? " 

He was brushing the dust off his clothes with a hand- 
kerchief as he spoke. I could not help smiling. He was, 
after all, a manly-looking fellow, about my own age. We 
were calculated for different meridians, that was all. I 
could not resist his imperturbable good nature. 

"Wait a moment," I said, as I entered the house. 
They all sat down upon the steps and " wrote up" what 
had passed. It flashed upon me that it might be well to 
make friends with these purveyors for the public maw. 

My mood changed as I passed the threshold. The few 
remaining guests were about to take their departure. They 


were tearful, troubled, mystified. The servants were 
curious, wondering, but mostly faithful and sympathetic. 
From (iieneral Fairbanks's lawyer I learned, briefly, what 
had happened during my absence. The transfer of Edith's 
property luid been made and the money j)aid over. Mr. 
Martling had called. What had occurred between him 
and Edith the lawyer did not know. He had been sum- 
moned to the room after a time and found Martling hold- 
ing General Fairbank's note and demanding payment in a 
threatening tone. At Edith's request, he had examined 
the note and its endorsements and tendered payment, de- 
manding the delivery of the collateral. To his surprise 
Martling had refused, with some hesitation, to deliver the 
collateral, and consequently the note remained unpaid. 
Thereupon Martling had been requested to leave the prem- 
ises and had done so, vowing vengeance. 

Immediately afterwards, officers, armed Avith a warrant 
for General Fairbanks's arrest, had presented themselves 
and insisted on searching the house from cellar to garret, 
which they proceeded to do. This indignity had com- 
pletely prostrated Edith. She remained firm, however, in 
her determination to leave the house at once, and had 
given the lawyer full and explicit directions as to the re- 
moval of her personal belongings. I learned that the con- 
tract of sale contained a covenant for repurchase within a 
limited period of time. I could not understand it then. 
It was not till many years afterwards that I learned how 


strong is the impulse of the Yankee towards the re- 
habilitation of his prestige when the same has been impaired 
by mischance. Subsequent success loses half its sweet- 
ness to him unless he can flaunt it in the faces of those who 
witnessed his downfall. Ambrose Fairbanks Avas not ex- 
empt from this almost ethnic inclination. It was not 
vanity, but the defiant pride of self-justification. Its dis- 
covery explained to me the myriad of hopeless, uncomplain- 
ing wrecks that lie upon the strand of Northern business 
life, utterly abject and pitiful, whose names were once 
talismanic in their golden potency. They would rather be 
nothing than be anything less than they once were. 

The blinds were shut close and the house was filled 
with funereal gloom rather than nuptial gladness, when the 
man of God, Avith sad and troubled visage, pronounced us 
man and Avife. Edith, in her traveling suit, Avas tearful 
and dejected. The few friends avIio Avitnessed the rite 
wore dolorous faces. Without consulting Edith, I Avent 
and invited in the bevy of reporters. They Avere fair-minded 
fellows, Avilling to do a good turn when their professional 
duties permitted . I am confident that this act of courtesy 
drcAV the sting from the tail of many a paragraph. The 
brave old laAvyer gave us a cheerful greeting and foretold 
for us a happy future. 


* * * 

The great Metropolis had begun its holiday when we 
drove through its crowded streets, at eventide. The guns 
were thundering forth the national salute and the bells 
were greeting the anniversary of a nation's birth when, at 
midnight, we passed through the city where it was cradled. 
The flags were tossing gaily in the morning breeze when 
we reached the National Capital. 

Though it was her wedding journey, Edith's tears 
flowed afresh at each of these manifestations, as if they 
were the harbingers of woe rather than the notes of exulta- 
tion. It was no longer her country. Her pride in its 
glory was dead. The sight of the flag brought a flush of 
shame. The father who had fought for it had fled from its 
shadow. Whether he had acted rightly or wrongly mat- 
tered little. His name was to be thenceforth a mark for 
jest and scorn. She put her fingers in her ears and my 
hands clenched involuntarily when the newsboy leajDcd 
upon the train, as it slowed up on entering the station, 
shouting a name whose renown gave pungency to the story 
its glaring head-lines made prominent. 

I no longer marvelled at her suffering. I wondered if 
any of the passengers would recognize her. Ah, no, they 
talked and laughed of the new sensation, while she wept 
behind her veil and we sped on, away from poisoned tongues 
and prying eyes. I was never before so glad that the 
South remained the South, despite all that had occurred 


as on that day. For the first time my father's prophecy 
of ultimate separation seemed to me a desirable result. 

A few short years of quiet happiness and ever-hoping 
hopelessness, and then I laid the gentle Northern wife be- 
side the stern, poor-white grandmother, the gallant Con- 
federate father and the sunny-haired sister, slain by the 
barbarity of strife, on the shaded slope of Ryalmont. 

She never rallied from the cruel stroke that shattered 
her pride and hope. Even my love was powerless to woo 
her back to the full enjoyment of life. Weakened by the 
shock, and prostrated by humiliation, the scourge of her 
native region claimed her and crowned her last days with 
that peculiar loveliness which only comes on earth to those 
to whom it opens the jDortals of eternity. 

This was the legacy of her love, written on the dark 
yellow sheets which contained my father's last behest : 

"I heartily approve what is herein enjoined, and trust 
that every memory of me may be an added incentive to its 



The sheets are creased and worn. The paper is of 
that dull yellow which was all the kind we had 
within the lines of the Confederacy. The ink is blurred, 
and the pages are unevenly written as if done at different 
times. The sheets bear the printed official heading of the 
Army of Northern Virginia ; and the first is dated from 
the camp on the line at Petersburg, hardly a fortnight 
before the end came. It bears my dead father's signature 
and my dead wife's indorsement. Two loved s])irits joined 
in beckoning me along the path I took — the extremes of 
our western civilization united in commending the duty 
it enjoins. There was little to prevent my acceptance of 
the task, yet there seemed nothing for me to do. 

So in the years that followed I read and re-read the 
fading lines, like a fakir meditating on his chosen text. 
With assiduous care and unflagging zeal I verified its pre- 
mises and noted the indices that strengthened its conclusions. 
Perhaps it would have seemed to another the rhapsody of 
a mere visionary. To me it was the thought of one 
greater than his age — one who lived before his time — who 
made me simply the instrument of his will, the agent of 
his prophetic forecast. I have done Jittle but learn its 
significance and apply its precepts. For years I could do. 



no more than strive to grasp its reason and spirit — to rise 
to the level on which it was written. The task was not 
easy. All around was chaos : the strife of party and 
faction and greed. Passion and prejudice hid the face of 
truth. Now and then came a gleam of light, then dark- 
ness. I gave myself to meditation as the saint devotes 
himself to prayer. I studied the North and the South, the 
rich and the poor, the black and the white. This missive 
from the grave — the posthumous teaching of a noble spirit 
— was my guide. Because I had fully learned the truths 
it set forth I was enabled, when the occasion came, not 
indeed to effect or even to precipitate the great result, but 
to determine in some degree the character of the means by 
which it was effected. 

I have read it so often that my eyes need not the aid 
of the fading lines to determine its contents. These 
are the words my father wrote for me to read upon the 
threshold of manhood and which love reaffirmed as a last 
behest : 

'' My Dear Soif f 

*' If you have obeyed my injunction you will have 
reached an age when you should be competent to decide 
important questions without liaving assumed obligations 
which will prevent your undertaking the work I shall 
indicate, should your judgment and inclination lead you 
to do so. I have prescribed this delay because not only 


is a man's judgment often warped by his individual in- 
terests, but because tlie happiness of those he loves 
is apt to incline him to a middle course rather than 
induce him to devote himself wholly to any great 

" \ do not wish to take from 3'^ou the right of self- 
direction. I know that every life must shape its own 
destiny. What I shall write herein is intended to appeal 
to your brain, not to your heart — to be advisory, not man- 
datory. What will occur in the years that will have inter- 
vened between the inditement of this missive and its 
perusal by you I cannot tell. What I may write you will 
understand is bused solely upon deductions from the past. 
When you shall read this, knowledge may have overturned 
hypothesis and you may clearly perceive me to have been 
as much at fault in my prognostications as were those 
worthy spirits of our early history who vainly hoped to 
limit and confine all coming time to the narrow lines of 
their own preconceptions. As I perceive their errors, now 
clearly outlined on the background of the past, so you may 
take note of elements I have not been able to forecast 
which may render my premonitions vain. Should such be 
the case, I am sure you will kindly cover your father's 
error with the mantle of oblivion. If, however, your 
judgment shall approve my words, I submit to your con- 
science, your patriotism, your duty to humanity and the 
love for true and enduring fame which I trust you will 


possess, what shall be the course you will pursue. If the 
dead may touch the living consciousness, I shall be beside 
you when you read these words ! 

*' Almost four years of war should teach lessons of 
wisdom. As you know, I have never been one of those 
who count such convulsions the mere fruit of accident. 
Whatever be the power that controls the universe, to-day 
is irresistibly unfolded out of yesterday, and not more 
surely does the bud contain leaf and flower and fruit than 
is to-morrow to be found in embryo within to-day. 

" During these years of conflict, while I trust that I 
may not be held to have been deficient in action, I have 
found time to meditate upon the causes and consequences of 
current events. The camp, the march and even the silent 
battlefield, lying beneath the stars with its burden of stark 
and cold humanity, not only afford ample opportunity for 
thought, but stimulate to the highest pitch the inclination 
of the philosophical mind to call upon the present to stand 
and deliver up the secrets of the past in order that we may 
thereby unlock the mysteries of the future. 

" War is but a crisis in the eternal conflict between 
the opposing forces of humanity. Folly may precipitate 
such a crisis, or wisdom may avoid it. In this sense war 
has been well defined to be a game of fools. But neither wis- 
dom nor folly can prevent the collision of hostile forces. The 
struggle may ripen into one of mere brute force and be 
called war, or result in a general recognition of a tendency 


too strong to be resisted and be called progress or peaceful 
revolution. Of course, one is foolish and the other wise, 
but in both cases there must be conflict — triumph and 
defeat, establishment and overthrow. This endless strife 
we call civilization. The soldier is as much its instrument 
as the statesman. Neither creates — only represents. The 
one is the product of latent savagery ; the other the outcome 
of a refinement that prefers canning to force — strategy to 
assault. We soldiers of the great republic now severed in 
twain, who have for four years faced and fought each other, 
are not mere creatures of intrigue and chicane. We have 
not slain each other to attain favor or to exalt party lead- 
ers. We are simply the contrasted types of the past, 
developed along opposing lines. We are representatives of 
two distinct and mutually repugnant civilizations. 

"■ Of these I do not doubt that onrs of the South is as 
yet weaker in the elements that win battles under the con- 
ditions of modern warfare, but I believe it to be much the 
stronger in its distinctive character and harmonious devel- 
opment. AVe shall be conquered in war but not overcome 
in spirit. When our banner trails in the dust — as I am 
sure it will before many days— the South will still be the 
South. Our enemies may hold it as conquered territory, 
but they will never be able to assimilate its people. The 
distance between them and us will really be no greater than 
it was before war intervened, but it will be infinitely more 
distinct. It will l)e fermed the results of war ; it will really 


be a result of peace. Paradoxical as it may appear, we should 
be much more closely united as two governments than we can 
be as one. What may happen I cannot tell. Resistance 
may cease. Submission may be comiilete. The very hope 
of political separation may be abandoned. Yet the two 
will never be one people, animated by one impulse, governed 
by one idea! One in name though they may be, they will 
continue two in spirit. As we have been in the past so we 
shall be in the future, two peoples under one name — two 
nations under one form. 

" This will not last. In your day, as in mine, it may 
be. necessary to elect whether you will serve the form or 
the spirit — whether you will follow the impulse of separa- 
tion or yield to the sentiment of union. Wisdom and 
patriotism may direct that yon shall take a course in formal 
opposition to that which I chose. I cannot tell. I hope 
you will act wisely and am sure you will act bravely. I 
have tried to leave you an inheritance of honor, and feel 
assured that you will not cast reproach upon your father's 
singleness of purpose, however you may regret his con- 

"History teaches, if I read it aright, that such a people 
as ours may be overwhelmed but cannot be transformed. 
On the contrary, one of three things has invariably hap- 
pened in similar cases : either the struggle has been 
renewed with fresh ardor within a generation ; the power 
of the victor has been relaxed and peaceful separation 


ensued, or the underlying imjoulse of the jieople making 
the appeal to arms has so impermeated and transformed 
the opposing mass as to be accepted as the dominant and 
controlling idea of the whole people. 

"■■' In our case I see no possibility of this latter result 
occurring. The North has hitherto yielded to the 
domination and control of the South, not because it 
approved our ideas, but with a curious hesitating forbear- 
ance for them. It is natural to suppose that rhis will dis- 
appear with victory. Hitherto the South has attributed 
such forbearance to fear, and will be likely to regard its 
absence as resulting from hate. At all events, it is hardly 
possible that the South will be restored to its old political 
supremacy and the nation quietly submit to its demands as 
before the severance of the federal relation. The tie, 
though it may not be entirely broken by the conflict, will 
be so seriously weakened as to be unable to bear any similar 
strain in the future. 

" It seems most probable that a state of suspended 
animation will supervene at the South upon the overthrow 
of the Confederacy, and if it were not for the presence of 
the colored race, assimilation would no doubt rapidly 
ensue. Slavery is, of course, already doomed. As a form 
of society it has served its mission and cannot longer be 
kept alive ; but the vast number of blacks, together with 
their poverty and inaptness for self-control, will prevent 
their expulsion from the South or gradual distribution over 


the whole country and consequently prohibit the influx of 
laboring masses either from the North or from Europe. In 
fact, the weakness of the race will really constitute its 
strength and our peril. "We have shaped their past for our 
own advantage and must shape their future for our own 

" The abolition of slavery, which must follow the 
overthrow of the military jiower of the Confederacy, instead 
of bringing the South and North nearer together in purpose 
and character, it seems to me, must inevitably leave them 
farther apart in sentiment and interest. WJiat will be to 
one meat will be to the other poison. Differences are sure 
to arise and conflict or separation must ultimately come. 
The North is certain to look with jealousy upon the relation 
of the races in the subjugated dominion. The white peo- 
ple of the South must govern and control without dictation 
and without regard for the wishes, inclinations and aspira- 
tions of the Negro race, or abandon the territory to anarchy, 
barbarism and decay. 

"So the white people of the South will be forced to 
face the alternative of another struggle for separate exist- 
ence or the abandonment of their supremacy and control 
over the Negro. There is no middle ground. The latter 
it is hardly necessary to consider. Whether the former 
shall be violent or peaceful will most likely be the real 

" The outcome I do not regard as at all doubtful. The 


destiny of the South is fixed and certain. "Whatever be 
the right or the wrong of the past, the South must control 
the destiny and development of the Negro race in America, 
until it stands on a level in intelligence and power, man 
for man, with the Anglo-Saxon. It will have to govern 
with a rod of iron to save itself from annihilation — its 
liberty and civilization from destruction. You will per- 
haps be surprised to read these words, but sitting in my 
tent, with the roar of the enemy's guns in my ears, I seem 
to see the future more clearly than ever before, and feel 
impelled as if by the presence of death to speak freely. 
Do not be misled by the prejudices of the past, my sou. 
The Negro, who has been our bondman for two hundred 
and fifty years, will sometimebeour peer— not in namcmerely; 
that the Washington government think tliey have already 
made him by the edict of emancipation — but in fact. I 
do not know how long it will require — generations or cen- 
turies, it is all the same. The South must meanwhile be 
his guardian, guide and teacher. It may have to restrain 
harshly for its own salvation. It may even attempt to 
destroy. When I think of tlie madness which hurried us 
into the present conflict, I cannot but tremble for the 

" It is this which impels me to write — to warn, to 
entreat I Oh, my son, whatever be your inclination, how- 
ever harsh may be the lesson of submission you may be 
called upon to learn, whatever may be your decision in 


regard to the request I shall prefer, I beg you, above all 
things, to remember that the race we have kept so long 
beneath our feet ; the race which has toiled and suffered in 
our service : the race whom we have forbidden to drink at 
the fountain of knowledge; the race which has dumbly 
borne our sins and shared our adversities; the race which 
is bound to us by every consideration of justice and human- 
ity; the race whose veins are already swelling with Cau- 
casian blood until hardly a white man or woman lives in 
the South who has not a brother, a sister or a cousin of 
dusky hue — remember that this race, now at the bottom of 
the ladder, will some time stand beside us at the top. 
Eemember this, as the last injunction of one who will have 
given his life for his people, before you read these words, 
and whose dying thought will be of you and them. The 
South must freely permit and wisely direct the development 
of this new people born of her civilization, or perish by 
their barbaric strength ! 

" It is because I tremble at this prospect that I give 
it you sacredly in charge never to omit any influence you 
may be able to exert to incline the hearts of our people to 
this great task — this overwhelming duty. By its perform- 
ance they will achieve unrivalled glory I By its neglect, 
they will deserve eternal sbam^ and undying execration ! " 


My father's letter continued: 

*' You will observe it to have been the almost universal 
course of history that the struggle for autonomy on the 
part of an oppressed or subjugated people is recurrent 
rather than continuous in its nature, and that the period 
of its recurrence may usually be stated with sufficient 
accuracy to be the average life of a generation. It is rare, 
indeed, that two great uprisings, having the same under- 
lying cause, occur within the active limit of a single life ; 
yet how often an unsuccessful revolution reappears in prac- 
tically the same form twenty or thirty years after. Not 
infrequently this periodicity has been almost as exact as if 
human events moved in an orbit of thirty years. In our 
own English history may be found more than one instance 
where the historian's dividers need to be parted only the 
average term of life to mark the recurrent intervals of 
strife, based substantially on the same causes. 

" The reasons for this are not far to seek, though they 
are rarely accounted worthy of attention. It has grown 
into a maxim that the sword never determines the right. 
The overthrow of an armed insurrection does not eradicate 
the cause of revolution, except under two conditions. The 
first of these is when the struggle has been so long and 



exhaustive or the repressive measures are so severe as prac- 
tically to eradicate the dissatisfied element. The second 
is the very frequent case in modern history where the sup- 
pression of a rebellion is followed almost immediately by 
the redress of the specific grievance which lay at the bot- 
tom of the attempted revolution. The number of those 
occurring within the last half of the last century led a 
philosopher to denominate it ' the bloody seed-time of 

" In the present case, the former course seems to me 
very unlikely to occur. Our government does not appear to 
be of a character to inspire resistance to the bitter end. 
There is no lack of devotion among the people, and except 
individual cases of desertion, the army, despite the priva- 
tions it has needlessly been called upon to bear, is as loyal 
and true as when the shouts of victory first went up from 
the hills of Manassas. Thus far not an officer has gone 
over to the enemy or failed to resist until the utmost limit 
of endurance, save in the one unaccountable instance of 
demoralization and disgrace at Donelson. Even then there 
was no treachery or desertion, only incapacity and perhaps 
cowardice. This amazing fidelity to our cause is in strik- 
ing contrast to the stampede which occurred at the out- 
break of hostilities, when fully one-third of those bound 
by military oath to the service of the Federal Government 
made haste to throw off the tie of allegiance and seek service 
under the flag of the Confederacy. Though this has been 


one of the most expensive and stubbornly contested civil 
wars in history, we have had no traitor. No southern 
leader has sought to make terms and gain advantage or 
emolument for himself by betraying his command to the 
enemy. No traitor has opened our gates, no coward has 
debauched our soldiery, no mercenary has sold his country 
for gold. 

" This is a proud record for our glorious but doomed 
Confederacy. I do not remember any parallel to it in his- 
tory. Even the year of hopelessness which has ensued 
since the relentless Grant assumed command of the enemy's 
forces has not induced any officer to open negotiations for 
the surrender of his command or the betrayal of our 
cause. This has not been for lack of opportunity. The 
millions of the North are known to be at the disposal of 
any general who will deliver an army into their hands. 
More than once the emissaries of the North have conveyed 
to our leaders a knowledge of great personal advantage 
to be gained by such a course. More than one safe-conduct 
has covered such a proposition. It is said that a civilian 
prisoner — a man high in the counsels of the enemy — 
offered one of our great captains a million dollars if he 
would so handle his command as to render it useless in a 
great emergency. This officer jwas so humiliated and alarmed 
that he made haste to release his j^risoner under the threat of 
instant death if ever captured again, fearful that he might 
find an ear not so safely guarded by honor. The North 


has been Avilling at any time to pay the most extravagant 
price for treachery, but no southern leader has yielded to 
temptation. This fact itself is j)roof conclusive of the 
distinctive character of our people. 

'' Despite all this, however, we are likely to be over- 
whelmed partly from inherent defects, such as a lack of 
mechanical skill and aptitude, and partly from the fact 
that our government seems to be without capacity or 
genius for supplying the wants of our armies. All winter 
we have almost starved and frozen in the sight of abun- 
dance. Meat and forage enough for years are within a hun- 
dred miles. Any other people after four years of war, 
with our supply of native textile material, would have 
made tents and clothing enough to have enabled us to bid 
defiance to the storms of winter as well as the columns of 
the enemy. We have liad to capture the better part of our 
camp equipage. Thus, while the confidence of the coun- 
try in the army and of the army in the country is undi- 
minished, the confidence of both army and people in the 
government is well-nigh exhausted. I judge, therefore, 
that when this army is destroyed or disintegrated, the 
country will submit without further contest. 

" In that event I do not anticipate a wholesale pro- 
scription. A few will no doubt be punished. I do not see 
how anything less can be expected. Eight or wrong in 
principle, if unsuccessful in fact, we cannot anticipate 
entire exemption from retril)ution, T do not think, how- 


ever J that the North is vengeful, and anticipate instead of 
severity a lenity of disposition and laxity of control that 
will leave our people very nearly in the position they occu- 
pied before the outbreak of hostilities. The jieople of the 
North are essentially mercantile, if not always mercenary, in 
character. Cost is the great bugbear of their patriotism. 
To them the cheapest way is always the best. They would 
rather be misgoverned at half-price than pay a higher rate 
for good government. They are willing to tax themselves 
extravagantly for schools and internal improvements which 
add to the value of houses and lands and 023en new ave- 
nues for business ; but they regard war as a terrible 
extravagance and will never consent to feed and clothe an 
army in order to maintain their power in the South for any 
length of time. It seems probable, therefore, that there 
will be some sort of constitutional restoration of our 
former relations at an early day. The prevailing impression 
among the officers of this army is that we shall be restored 
with slavery prohibited. Some of them still hope for 
gradual emancipation, but that is generally thought unreas- 
onable. No one looks for success now. We only hope 
the struggle will end with honor. 

" It seems also unlikely, if not impossible, that the 
ordinary course of statesmanship can be adopted in our case. 
The South cannot be placated by granting its demands, for 
those demands are destructive of the existence of the gov- 
ernment as Avell as repugnant to the underlying principles 


on which the war has been fought by the people of the 
North. The South demanded two things and has based its 
appeal to arms upon its right to enjoy the same. Eirst, a 
separate organic existence, and second, the continuance of 
slavery. Of course, neither of these demands can be 
granted by the enemy and nothing less will satisfy our 
people. I anticipate instead a period of anomalous, unde- 
termined relations, during which the feeling of oppug- 
nancy will grow stronger but be less apparent than before, 
until some new occasion for its display arises. Then it 
will be found that the fate of the Confederacy, instead of 
being an effective antidote for insurrection, will have been 
but a stimulus to the heroism of our people. . Rivalry of 
their fathers' glory will impel our sons to redoubled exer- 
tions to accomplish Avhat we failed to achieve. I deem it 
certain, therefore, that within the period of your expect- 
ancy of life, the struggle for separation will be renewed. I 
do not desire such a result and would do nothing to pro- 
mote it ; but deeming it inevitable, I wish to do all that 
lies in my power to deprive it of the barbarous and san- 
guinary character it may possibly assume. 

" I dare not attempt to picture the horrors I appre- 
hend. Remember, my son, that Washington's fevered 
visions on his dying bed are said, by reliable tradition, to 
have been of a war of races in our beloved South. Even 
now, while the bonds of slavery are yet undissolved, this 
most terrible of national woes is ever present to the appre- 


hension of our most thoughtful and sagacious. If the 
period of uncertainty Avhicli must follow our overthrow 
shall pass without such conflict, I apprehend that the peril 
may be enhanced by the less clearly defined but subordi- 
nate relations which the race must sustain to their former 
masters. This fact is certain to complicate the relations of 
the South with the country and at the same time infinitely 
enhance the perils and horrors of war. 

" The experience of the past four years has only 
strengthened the conviction with which I espoused the 
cause of the Confederacy, as to the inherent and ineradica- 
ble incompatability between the civilization of the North 
and the South and their inevitable tendency to divergence 
and separation. There is no possible solvent that can per- 
manently and peacefully unite such hostile and repugnant 
elements in one healthful and harmonious development. 
Parodoxical as it may seem, the only liope of permanent 
union lies through temporary but organic separation. Be- 
sides the polarizing instincts of the English race, the clash 
of conflicting interests and the subjection of great classes 
to irksome and perhaps injurious restraint at the hands of 
majorities ignorant or apathetic in regard to their special 
needs, must sooner or later of necessity produce organic 
separation. At the same time the necessity of self-protec- 
tion, pride in the American name and the boundless con- 
fidence of the English-speaking peoples in the honor and 
good faith of each other, will no doubt incline them" to 


such federated union as will make the allied republics 
infinitely stronger, more harmonious and prosperous than 
the original nationality could ever hope to become. 

" This inclination to separate organic nationality, 
accompanied by even closer and stronger alliance, is already 
showing itself among English-sijeaking peoples. Canada 
and Australia are infinitely stronger props to the English 
throne in a half-dependent relation, than they would ever 
have become as purely subordinate colonies with a central 
government . 

" The South is homogeneous. If you take your map 
and draw a line westward along the northern boundaries of 
Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, you will have 
to the southwestward a body of people essentially one in 
their instincts, prejudices, interests and traditions. Prac- 
tically, this M^hole region was a unit in the support of the 
Confederate cause. The two sections merely dropped apart 
along this line. The conflict has been in no proper sense a 
civil war. Except in a limited region along the Appalachian 
range there has been no discordant element in the 
South and no really internecine strife. The enemy has 
waged a war of invasion from the outset. Their armies 
have been on foreign soil and among hostile people. Ex- 
cept the colored race, whose hopes and interests incline 
them to the enemy, it has been almost impossible for them 
to obtain information of our movements, no sort of induce- 
ment proving suflBcient to obtain reliable spies among our 

310 EKiHTY-MNE. 

people. It is true that the sagacity of the man so greatly 
misappreciated by us — the Presiileut of the United States 
— has subtly contrived to make it appear otherwise. -Of 
the hantlful of malcontents in some of the border states, 
he has made a host, by the simple process of organizing 
regiments of volunteers bearing the names of such states 
and professedly recruited from their population. This 
showing is specious but effective. Most of these men and 
nearly all the officers come from other states. The muster- 
roll of one, whieli was ea[itured by our forces, contained 
the names of less than a hundred natives of the state it 
professed to represent. It was a shrewd artifice and a 
most effective means of deceiving other nations and keep- 
ing up the courage of his own people. It was a fair 
stratagem, too, and ouglit to have taught our leaders 
long ago that they could not afford to desjiise the head of 
the Federal Government Long before you read these lines, 
however, I doubt not the fallacy of the claim will have 
become apparent. You will readily I'jerceive that the 
South is and always has been homogeneous and united on all 
matters touching its interests, fame and destiny. 

" While I have become still more thoroughly con- 
vinced of the truth on which the movement for separation 
was actually based, I have also become more fully convinced 
of the foolish and needless character of the war that has 
been waged to secure this end. Had the executive head of 
the Confederacy been anything like a match in diplomacy 


and statecraft for the shrewd anfl cautious western lawj'er 
who has directed the course of the government at Wash- 
ington, I fully believe that separation might even then 
have been achieved without the shedding of a drop of 
blood. The only real obstacle to its consummation was 
the unexpectedly fierce and almost universal liostility of 
the North to the institution of slavery. Even this senti- 
ment, however, on the part of the more rancorous and 
active wing of our opponents would have favored our pro- 
ject. If we bad merely refused to cooperate in the gov- 
ernment, had withdrawn from all participation in its 
affairs, peaceably but firmly protesting our right to organ- 
ize a government for ourselves and prepared diligently to 
resist encroachment but studiously refrained from 25i"o voic- 
ing conflict, I believe it cpiite possible that we might have 
secured organic independence without the bitter scath of 

'• It is because of these convictions, my son, that I 
have determined to write these things to you. If you have 
complied with my request, as I do not doubt that you have, 
you have been an oljserver but not a particij)ant in the 
greatest war of modern times. You have seen, and in 
your own person as well as in the persons of those you love, 
have been taught how terrible a curse it is. You are now 
arrived at an age when you ought to be able to weigh and 
estimate the truth of my prognostications. You are encum- 
bered by no domestic ties, other than the duties you owe to 


the widowed mother whom I charge you never to forget. 
You have an honorable name, and will, I trust, be in posses- 
sion of a fair estate. If I am correct in these anticipations, 
and upon weighing and considering what I have written 
you shall believe it to be a true and reasonable forecast, I 
charge you as a son who would make glad the spirit of his 
father, as a son who remembers the flame that consumed 
the roof-tree, from which his loved ones fled, as a man who 
recognizes his duty to humanity, as a patriot who would 
serve his country and as a Christian Avho would serve his 
God, that you devote yourself to do all that lies in your 
power to make the inevitable separation bloodless, peaceful 
and just, as becomes the solemn convention of two free and 
enlightened rejiublics. 

'' I charge you that you undertake this work if it 
seem good and feasible, and that you allow no personal 
interest, no desire for wealth nor inclination to ease, to divert 
you therefrom until you have achieved the end or seen your 
most earnest efforts fail. Your father's fame has been won 
in war. Because he has learned its folly and its woe, he 
consecrates you to the service of peace. If he has won 
honor in arms, may you win a far richer fame in the pre- 
vention of strife ! Be thou, my son, indeed a knight of 
the Holy Cross, which is forever consecrated to peace, in 
order that you may save your country from the woes that 
impend ! 

^' If this task seems to you a proper undertaking, I 


desire you to know that so far as the powers of the unseen 
world permit I shall watch over and aid you in its perform- 
ance. Should it prove impracticable or beyond your 
power, I desire that you will some time make this public 
as your justification and defence. With this purpose in 
view I have had the same attested by the signature of the 
commanding general and one of the corps commanders of 
the Army of Northern Virginia, whose verification will 
establish its authenticity beyond all question. 

" As one Avho goes forth to die, I salute you, and 
implore the blessing of Heaven upon you and the faithful 
wife and loving mother, whom I commend to your care, as 
I devote you to the country for which I go to render up my 
life. Your aftectiouate father, 

" Godson OwEif." 


1 was the sole devisee of my wife, but I cared nothing 
for the Avealtli at juy command. The money which her 
fatliers enemies had refused had been transmitted to him 
and became the basis of his subsequent financial success. 
Every one knows tlie history of those remarkable achieve- 
ments by which an unknown adventurer subjugated the 
realm Pizarro conquered and made the whole business of 
the Western slope of two continents tributary to a single 
will. Under half a score of names, one mind seemed to be 
at work to achieve a single purpose. When this force was 
withdrawn from any specific enterprise it visibly languished 
and usually failed. 

It Avas not long after his departure that a force hostile 
to the great Rock Oil Combination began to make itself felt. 
Most unexpectedly, new fields in which it had little or no in- 
terest were discovered one after another and put in operation 
with an exactness of anticipation which several times 
threatened its su])remacy. As a result more than one who 
had been wrecked by its rapacity became suddenly rich. 
Men found themselves unexpectedly possessed of rights 
which they had long forgotten — some were unable even to 
recall how they had become possessed of them. Among 



these was the widow of Collyev, while others were men to 
whom Greneral Fairbanks had owed favor. It is strange 
that this fact did not attract attention; yet the lynx-eyed 
managers of the great company whose ramifications .were 
becoming so infinite that every man, woman and child 
npon the continent paid enforced tribute to its power anfl 
greed, failed to note the force that was so relentlessly pur- 
suing them. Neither had I any suspicions. Indeed I 
paid little heed to matters of that sort. 

During Edith's life my existence was bound up 
in hers, and I have always been unable to find place in my 
heart for many things at one time. The tender beauty of her 
nature subjugated my entire being, and I had little thought 
for anything except to add if I might a few days to the span 
of her existence, and to meditate with something close 
akin to hatred upon the mysterious force whicli had shaped 
and shattered her life. While she lived our intercourse 
with the self-exiled pair had been constant. Only the fact 
that, as usual, the end long expected came unex^oectedly, 
prevented their standing beside her gi'ave. 

Her death gave General Fairbanks a still more uncon- 
querable aversion to his native land. In our correspondence 
nothing was ever said as to the ventures in which he was en- 
gaged. We knew that comfort and even luxury surrounded 
them. A thousand evidences of luxurious taste and tender 
remembrance found their way to Ryalmont. Strange flowers 
of tropical magnificence came to the conservatories that 


stretch along tli liillside above the resting place of the 
hallowed dead. ILunmooks and awnings of cnrious text- 
ure and wonderful vividness of coloring were scattered 
through the grove, and the cjuaint old home became a 
treasure-house of rich and rare decoration. 

As to the source of this wealth we asked no questions 
and received no information. Edith was content to know 
that her father had retrieved his ill fortune and again con- 
quered financial success. She lived to know that the last 
stain had been wijied from his commercial honor, and that 
no claim of loss by any action of his could be truthfully 
made by any one. She even lived to hear his integrity com- 
mended, and his ability and indomitable energy applauded 
as an honor to the nation whose spirit and enterprise he so 
well represented, by those who had so recently heaped re- 
proach upon his name. All this is a matter of common 
fame, and I will not dwell upon it. 

It was not until many years afterward that I learned 
how potent had been his influence in shaping the forces 
upon the action of which recent events have so greatly de- 
pended. It was known that in the neighboring republic 
of Mexico there existed a sentiment bitterly hostile to the 
United States, and yet keenly sympathetic with Southern 
hopes, prejudices and ideas. When the great chief of the 
Federal armies went there as an envoy extraordinary, rep- 
resenting the capital and enterprise of the North, while he 
found himself received with distinguished honor in the 


ancient city wliicii he had once entered as a conqueror, 
he soon became aware of a secret, indefinable influence 
which constantly thwarted his plans and rendered abortive 
his expectations. 

He did, indeed, obtain concessions permitting the un- 
limited investment of capital, and conferring valuable privi- 
leges; but w^hen he sought for guaranties for their protec- 
tion he was unable to obtain the least favor. Capitalists 
were permitted to come and invest. They must take the 
chances, however, of the future of the government. Everv- 
thing that was gianted was revocable, and every conces- 
sion obtained had in it an express relinquishment of all 
claim for international interference. No loophole or pre- 
tence for national action in regard to them was left. They 
were to be Mexican companies, subject to Mexican control, 
under Mexican laws, and liable to change by Mexican 
authority. The boasted sagacity of the North found itself 
not only baffled but absolutely overreached by a nation 
it despised. 

It is true that these concessions were accepted as sat- 
isfactory. The adventurous syndicate which had made the 
great soldier their innocent instrument in what they intended 
should be a mighty scheme of international spoliation and 
subsequent conquest, had been too sure of their prey, and 
had invested too much on the chances of success to be able 
to retract. They simply changed their strategy, going on 
and completing the work agreed upon, ti-usting to the 


spirit of lawless rapacity which infects the civilization of 
which they themselves were significant products, to sup- 
port and maintain their claims, even by force of arms. It 
was this fact that led to the systematic development of an 
anti-^[exican spirit, not only along the borders, but also 
throughout the great states of the North and West. When 
these great combinations had fastened their clutches upon 
all that was most valuable and desirable in the weaker 
nation, they looked for this spirit of conquest and absorp- 
tion to come to their aid by overthrowing the restrictive 
power and making permanent and irrevocable the condi- 
tional grants they had received. 

What tlie real power was that foiled these expectations 
they did not know until long afterwards. 

Partly from a sense of duty and partly as a tribute to 
my dead love, I began to speculate upon my father's in- 
junctions. Little by little they became clearer to my 
mind. During the years when the forces of civilization . 
were taking shape after the disastrous close of tlie War for 
Separation, I saw little hope for the fulfillment of liis de- 
sire. The South was yet prostrate under the foot of a vic- 
torious foe, or seeking by shameful and unmanly violence 
and hateful conspiracy to relieve herself from subjection. 
The North, surprised at its own success, was more over- 
whelmed by victory than it would have been by defeat. 
It would have resisted a victorious foe no doubt longer .and 


more desperately than any jjeople ever did ; but what 
to do with a conquered enemy it could not tell. 

Through years of subterfuge and vacillation the shame- 
ful sj)ectacle dragged on. The North would neither rule 
che subjugated realm nor permit its people to rule them- 
selves in their own way. They j^i'oposed instead that the 
South should be controlled, not by those who had made its 
history glorious nor according to the traditions of her 
people; Init that master and former slave should form an 
equal partnership, and that both should govern according 
to Yankee ideas. 

As soon as the South began to recover from the pros- 
tration of wai-, her people were prompt to resist and over- 
throw this weak and silly fabric of sentimentality. They 
declared that the South had always been "a white man's 
government," and mu.^t always remain such. Unfortu- 
nately the worst of counsels prevailed. If our people had 
stood defensively upon this doctrine, the sentiment of the 
North would no doubt soon have accorded to them all they 
asked. Despite the strange infatuation which made the 
North the champion of the freedom of the slave, the peo- 
ple of that section had no real interest in the negro as a 
man. They gave him freedom in order to punish the South 
for rebellion 'and to satisfy the intellectual pride which had 
so long insisted on the absurdity of slavery in a nation 
boastful of its liberty. Tliey conferred equal rights upon 
him, not merely as a further demonstration of the fact 


that their ideas had prevailed, but also as an affront to the 
Avhite people who had fought so long and gallantly in use- 
less protest against notions so abhorrent to their traditions. 

Instead of waiting j)atiently for this gross injustice to 
right itself, the people of the South, defiant of the foi-ms 
and restraints of law, attacked the anomalous alliance of 
the North and the negro in its weakest point. In so doing 
they showed the military instinct which pervades the 
Avhole l)ody of our iDeoi)le: but needlessly exposed them- 
selves to assault upon grounds well-nigh fatal to their 
hopes. They knew the negro was more easily controlled 
by the lash than in any other manner, and so appealed to 
the lash to restore their suj^remacy. 

It was a foolish and unnecessary defiance of an enemy 
anxious only for the name of victory, and very willing to 
forego all its substantial fruits if permitted quietly to en- 
joy its prestige. At very slight expense the same result 
might have been achieved by catering to the jiride and 
cupidity of the negro rather than to his fears. The North 
is so accustomed to the corrui:)tion of the ballot by bribery 
and cunning that she would never have felt aggrieved if 
every colored voter between the Potomac and the Rio 
Grande had been bribed to vote against her candidates and 

One of their own writers has said of this singular people, 
that "' nothing but material prosperity has ever been 
dreamed of by them as a possible object of national ambi- 


tion." They were anxious to get back to their farms and 
markets and factories, their stocks and other forms of 
legalized gambling, — the business of money-making. They 
had no more time to give to the negro and Jiis newly con- 
ferred rights and privileges, and would have been entirely 
willing to have seen him shorn of both, if it could have 
been done without abrading his skin or shedding his 
blood. They are singularly consistent in their non-resist- 
ant ideas, however. Individually or collectively they will 
submit to any sort of outrage so long as it does not touch 
the person. No amount of insult and hardly anj^ form of 
wrong can stir the Northern man to self-defence or personal 
resentment. One may exhaust the vocabulary of abuse 
upon him or with entire impunity ascribe any sort of dis- 
honor to those he loves. Except in the far \Yest, he will rarely 
raise his hand to punish the aggressor unless he first feels 
the sting of a blow — the smart of physical pain. 

The same quality attaches to him collectively. Dog- 
matic and contentious as he certainly is in an intellectual 
sense, iwlitically he is the meanest and most contemptible 
of forces. The people of the North will submit to wrong 
and oppression longer than any people in the Avorld, if only 
it does not affect their individual advantage or is not char- 
acterized by personal violence. If the revolution which 
occurred at the South, between 1870 and 187G, had been 
prudently managed so as not to have shocked tlie pre- 
notions of the North by the appeal to physical violence. 


that strange people would no doubt liave counted them- 
selves well rid of their dark-skinned allies and would gladly 
have allowed us to shape their future on the lines of our 
past traditions. 

While this error did not wreck the policy of non-re- 
sistance it made its further assertion at that time a matter 
of extreme difficulty, although it demonstrated most con- 
vincingly the truth of my father's forecasts. The " Xew 
South," which sprang up out of the debris of conflict was no 
less distinctively Southern than the old one. Its lines were 
obtained by a simple protraction of those of its predecessors. 
It no more resembled the Xorth in sentiment, aspiration 
and character than did the South of 1860. It subsisted 
under new conditions, and its life had assumed new form, 
but it still reju'esented the antipodes of Northern thought 
and regarded with vague wonder the refinements of Northern 
sentiment. This spirit was strengthened by the complete 
success of the revolutionary methods adopted. The South, 
which had been prostrate in defeat, soon raised its head in 
triumjih, its old contempt of its antagonist intensified by 
unexpected immunity from punishment. 

AVhen, therefore, in 1884, the Democratic party came 
into power by virtue of the undivided Southern support, a 
spirit was at once developed which seemed to prohibit all 
reasonable anticipation of the result my father had predicted. 
The people of the South for the first time began to realize the 
advantages of their position under the Federal compact as 


modified by the reactionary legislation of tlie reconstruc- 
tion era. Politically, the negro was as much a nonentity 
as he had been in the days of slavery. His perso]ial and 
civil rights were as absolutely in the hands of 
the white people of the South as they had formerly been 
under the control of his master. He was j)aid for his labor, 
it is true; but all the land, all the factories, all the capital 
were in the hands of the whites. So were the courts and 
the legislatures. It was difficult to move public opinion in 
his favor while suspicion was awakened by his every act. ' 
A single unguarded speech by a man of color was sufficient 
to call out the power of the county and sometimes was 
thought to justify an appeal to the governor and the order- 
ing of a military force to the scene of anticipated revolt. 

As a political force, the negro was nullified with an 
ease that was both laughable and incomprehensible to one 
not familiar with the antecedent condition of Southern life. 
The North has not yet been able to understand it. The 
result was that the comparative political strength of the 
white po^iulation of the South was immensely increased by 
the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of the 
blacks. Our people were not slow to realize this advan- 
tage, and the inherent thirst for rulership wdiich character- 
izes them soon gave rise to an almost universal desire to 
remain in the Union, both as a measure of self-defence and 
with the idea of ruling and controlling the government, as 


they had done previous to the outbreak of the War for 

Tliis feeling was the chief obstacle encountered in the 
promotion of the movement for peaceable disruption and 
seemed for a time insuperable. Indeed, I am inclined to the 
belief that a display of either reasonable firmness or ordinary 
wisdom on the part of the North Avould have compelled 
me to forego all hope of fulfilling my father's behest. 

As time went on, I strove with heart and lu'ain to 
answer truly and well three great questions : 

Can the Nation remain "one and insejmrable '* for 
any considerable period ? 

Ought it to remain undivided, considering its various 
elements and the true interests of all its people ? 

Can it be broken in tAvain by •a\\\ peaceful means ? 

I had little difficulty in answering the first two in the 
negative. For many years it seemed as if the third must 
be answered in the negative also. 


It was fortunate for our cause — indeed it would seem 
to have been nothing less than providential — that the ef- 
forts of certain fanatics to have the Federal Government 
appropriate large sums in aid of education in the Southern 
States did not prevail. The scheme was a magnificent effort 
to induce that government to do by indirection what it ought 
no doubt to have done without any subterfuge long before, 
to-Avit, make some provision for alleviating the evils resulting 
from slavery, and made more apparent by emancipation. If it 
had been coupled with a proposition to pay even a tithe of 
the value of the slaves set free by the exercise of a doubt- 
ful authority, I doubt if our people would have been able 
to resist the tempting lure. As, however, the chief part 
of the benefit would inure to the negro, who might thereby 
be strengthened and encouraged offensively to assert his 
equality with the white race, it was but natural that the 
controllers of opinion and manipulators of power at the 
South should set themselves against it. 

From the Northern point of view, it is difficult 
to see how the Federal Government could escape the obli- 
gation of providing in some manner for the education and 



development of the former slaves. As a mere question of 
pecimiary justice it would seem that a nation which en- 
couraged and perpetuated slavery and grew rich out of its 
profits, in emancij^ating the slaves ought to have made pro- 
vision for their future. The profits of their bondage had 
inured quite as much to the North as to the South. 

For a hundred years slavery had crowded manufactures 
out of the South, while the taritf provisions of the Federal 
(lovernment compelled us to buy all manufactured articles 
at the sh()})s of the North. This was a wise provision for the 
nation, though in no sense a profitable one for the South. It 
enabled the delicate moral sense of the North to ^^llield itself 
under a film of indirection, so that while they shared the 
proceeds of our moral obliquities they Avere without ap- 
parent responsibility therefor. This state of affairs exactly 
suited the genius of this people whose chief aspirations are 
to seem incomparably good and to be thought incomparably 
rich. In the case of the negro, a way was found to recon- 
cile these impulses. Instead of providing for the welfare 
of the emancipated slave, either materially or educationally, 
they decided to confer on him the ballot. This 
they loudly asserted to be a priceless privilege and it had 
the overwhelming advantage of costing the donors nothing. 
It was a method of discharging such obligations character- 
istic with them and much preferred to the Czar's foolish 
plan of compelling the Russian nobles to give a portion ot 
their estates to the serfs he had freed. 


It should in fairness be remembered, however, that 
there was another reason why the proposition to extend 
national aid to public education failed. As I have said it 
was merely an indirect method of appropriating national 
funds for the education of the former slaves and their 
descendants. Ninety per cent of the blacks were in the 
States of the South. In eight of them, they constituted 
twenty per cent of the poj)ulation; in the other eight, 
fifty per cent. In three of these, they numbered two-thirds 
of the entire population. Of the Avhole, seventy per cent 
were admittedly illitei'ate, — practically ninety per cent of 
them were profoundly ignorant. The plan which was de- 
vised was simply a scheme to give money for the education 
of the negroes under pretence both of charity for the whole 
South and anxiety for the cure of ignorance everywhere. It 
was a farce. There was no such mass of ignorance in any State 
of the Xoi'th as to require any such remedy, and wo of the 
South were quite able to educate our white illiterates. It 
was evident, therefore, that the real purpose was to benefit 
the blacks especially, without appearing to have that pur- 
pose in view. 

The fact is, the North had become ashamed of the 
company it had chosen. While the negro was a slave, it 
suited its vague ideas of wholesale philanthrophy to make 
him a martyr and his liberation its special mission. In 
this it gloried and this was the actual motive of the war it 
waged against the Confederacy; for in spite of their boasted 


practical! U', they are the most sentimental and unpractical 
people in the world. In carrying on this war they appealed 
to the negro, then a slave, with a tropical wealth of prom- 
ises which must have dazed even a less fervid imagination 
than that of the unfortunate African. They agreed, not 
only impliedly but explicitly, to stand between him and 
his traditional and natural controllers— oppressors they 
termed them — the whites of the South. When the war 
was over, however, when the slave had betrayed his master, 
had guided their armies, fed their fugutives and served 
with indefatigable zeal the cause of the enemy ; when a 
quarter of a million of them had offered their bodies as a 
bulwark for their white comrades and been accorded the 
place of honor in every assault, until their losses were pro- 
portionately greater than those of any other contingent of 
like numbers — after these things had occurred, the North 
became ashamed of its allies. In the day of triumph these 
were thrust into the background and, as time passed on, 
were year by year more and more sedulously secluded from 
public regard. The most unyielding of our Confederate 
chieftains stood proudly about the bier of Grant, but none 
of those degenei'ate sons of the South who had bowed obse- 
quiously to his power, nor any of those black hands which 
had done so much to put the laurel of victory on his brow 
wore allowed to touch his sacred cerement. Only a few 
colored grooms were permitted to lead the horses liarnessed 
to his catafalque. 


Snch things will seem almost incredible to the historian 
who hereafter shall seek for the causes of the downfall of 
the Federal power, and I cannot bnt think they were in- 
dicative of a lack of moral stamina which had much to do 
with the national decadence. They resulted not from any 
failure to comprehend of the true relations subsisting be- 
tween the Nation and the negro, but from two singular 
characteristics of the Northern mind, to wit : the fear of 
ridicule and the lack of any sense of personal obligation not 
of a pecuniary character. Business is the life of its life, 
and its boast is that there is no friendship in business. Its 
philanthropy is unbounded, but it is without any sense of 
gratitude. The Northern man will lavish money upon a 
friend who does not need it and refuse aid to one who is in 
difficulty. He prefers to give to the poor rather than pre- 
vent one to whom he owes the obligation of favor from be- 
coming impoverished. He prides himself upon his un- 
selfishness and imjjartiality. He does no more for his 
friend than for his foe. The ties of blood even are little 
regarded. It is an instinctive appreciation of this fact 
that lies at the bottom of the Northern man's boast that 
the last person of whom he would ask a favor is one of his 
kindred. He knows that as a rule they are the last who 
would grant him aid. It was the negro's misfortune both 
to have sewed tliis curious people at a critical period of 
their history and to have sustained to them afterwards the 
relation of "poor kin," — the two relations of all that could 


exist which they were the most unwilling to acknowledge. 

As I have already said, the sense of respectability is 
the most potent impulse of Xorthern life. The most 
charitable and philanthropic people in the world, they have 
an unconquerable aversion to rags and grime. They are 
willing to relieve the poor — to give them alms, that is — but 
they do not want them near except as servitors or duly 
labeled samples of their own charitable inclinations. They 
cannot meet them, mingle with them or admit them as 
equals to their life. 1'he gulf between affluence and indi- 
gence is bridged by charity, but betweeu superfluity and 
scantiness it is impassable and unfatbonuible. For this 
reason the Northei-u man is veiy shy of his associates. Xo 
man*s merit is great enough to be visible under a shabby coat. 

The negi'o was a most uncomfortable protege. He 
could not be wined or dined to any extent. He could not 
be made a lion in the drawing-room or a companion on the 
street. The North admitted its duty but it could not en- 
dure our gibes. Even the old taunt of "Abolitionist," 
still had a sting. Her peoi^le were afraid we 
of the South would call them "negro-lovers" aud '^ mis- 
cegenation ists," if they attempted openly to reward their 
allies or protect their friends. If, however, the people of 
the South could be made co-recipients of their bounty, the 
sting would be removed. So the bolus was shrewdly con- 
cocted and some of our people were silly enough to swallow 
it ; but the more far-seeing apprehended the danger of 


bi'iuging the Xatioiial Goveruuient nearer to our people in 
a beneficent guise — especially to that moiety of our popula- 
tion who were of the colored race. To educate them was 
evidently to increase their power of resistance to the white 
man's control and so provoke unnecessary conflict. These 
raised the cry of pauperization. It Avas an attempt on the 
part of Northern zealots, they said, to pauperize and degrade 
the people of the South. With its usual subserviency the 
greater portion of the press of the jSTorth caught up and re- 
peated this cry, all the more readily no doubt as it offered 
a way out of the dilemma, whereby they might excuse their 
inaction and at the same time save their ducats. "While 
they would gladly have done full Justice to the negro the 
South requesting and assenting, yet they would rather 
abandon their former allies than face the sneers of their 
former foes. Such a feeling is almost incomj^rehensible to 
a Southern man, but these singular people think all the 
world is animated by the same whimsical motives. 

All this was made the more manifest by the fact that 
the people of the North as individuals had recognized their 
obligation to the negro in an unprecedented manner. In 
the twenty years succeeding the surrender of the Confed- 
erate armies they had contributed individually not far 
from twenty millions of dollars for education at the South, 
principally among the colored people. This, however, was but 
an evasion of the public duty which rested on the people and 
the party that during all that time held control of the Fed- 


ederal Government. The oiDportimity passed, and after a 
qftarter of a century the colored peojile lost confidence, not 
in the future, but in their professed friends, and turned to- 
ward those allied to them by nativity and oftentimes by blood, 
as not only the natural but the only possible promoters of 
their future prosperity and safety. 

The Cadets of tlie Order of the Southern Cross were 
the result of this tendency on the part of the more intelli- 
gent and patriotic of the colored people. They were not 
many, as it was necessary to move very slowly in tliis di- 
rection. Besides, there are not many, and will not l)e for 
generations, who are worthy of such exaltation. It is by 
no means certain that the blacks will ever as a people 
reach tbe present level of the whites ; but whatever pro- 
gress the race is capable of achieving must, no doubt, be 
made under careful supervision and restraint. It is possi- 
ble that, in some far future, the colored race may be safely 
and properly admitted to that equality of power in the gov- 
ernment which the later Amendments of the Federal Con- 
stitution foolishly and vainly sought to confer, and from 
which the people of the North expected miraculous results 
without providing instruction, protection or encourage- 
ment for the weak and ignorant whom it thus enticed into 
a perilous experiment. In nothing has the wisdom of what 
has recently occurred been so thoroughly exemj^lified as in 
the good order, peace and contentment of the colored 
people since the establishment of the new government. 


They realize that their time has not yet fully come and are 
willing to wait until it does — it may be a century; it may 
be a cycle. They have gained much. Their freedom is 
secure. Their most important civil rights are recognized. 
Others will follow ; but time alone cures the evils which 
grow out of untoward destiny. 

All these things contributed to the success of our 
plans. The people of the Xorth, conscious of injustice to 
the negro, yet unwilling to recognize him as a co-ordinate 
in political power (though they had been ready enough to 
thrust him on the people of the South as such) were in 
reality very glad to be thus easily rid of their troublesome 
protege who had ceased to be interesting as soon as he be- 
came free. They were glad enough, therefore, to accept 
the representations of some few hundred Cadets as really 
the voice of their race, and having thus eased their con- 
sciences, they felt little inclined to carry resistance to our 
demand to extreme lengths, but with creditable unanimity 
exclaimed, after a little decorous remonstrance : 

" Oh, let them go I The South is always stirring up 
trouble anyhow. Let them go and fight it out with each 
other ! " 

This feeling was greatly strengthened by the prevail- 
ing idea that the South would still be dejiendent on the 
North for its manufactured products. They did not seem 
to realize that we would import capitalists and manufac- 
turers instead of their wares. In framing the " Articles 


of Separation," they only insisted that in regard to exports 
and imports they should always be on the footing of " the 
most favored nation," deeming themselves well able to com- 
pete with any foreign power on that basis, as no doubt they 
are. Long before the imposition of our recent tariff, how- 
ever, which was purposely made peculiarly favorable to our 
sister republic, it was estimated that more than two hundred 
million dollars of Northern capital had come across the 
border to take advantage of such an unprecedented oppor- 
tunity for manufacturing investment. Men of northern 
birth will no doubt be our chief mechanical producers for 
many years ; but their wares will be Southern manufactures. 
This is one of the chief advantages the South derives from 
separation —a development of her resources to supply her own 
markets. It brings to us. too, the very cream of Northern 
life — her successful manufacturers and capitalists. The 
privilege of supplying a market of twenty millions of people, 
wisely protected against foreign comj^etition by a universal 
patriotic sentiment, is one that does not often present itself 
to commercial enterprise. 

The North saw too late what they had lost: but their 
most sagacious manufacturers perceived at once how much 
might be gained by removal hither. While the shops of New 
England are running on half-time, those of the new re- 
public find the day all too short to supply the demand for 
their wares. As a result it is believed that the wealth of 
the South will be doubled within a decade. Such are 
the fruits of patriotic patience and outspoken sincerity I 


" This is the most glorious Easter since Christ rose 
from the dead ! " 

Thus shouted an impassioned orator, and the heaving 
multitude responded with the shrill, wavering cry whose 
plaintive cadences had so often been the prelude and 
herald of victory. Twenty-one years had elapsed since the 
land had echoed with the thunders of Federal triumph, 
since the flag of an extinct nationality had been folded 
away and the South had bowed her neck to the conqueror's 
yoke. Proudly and haughtily, yet without oj^en defiance, 
she had obeyed the mandate of her hereditary foe. Out 
of the wreck of conflict the genius of her sons had saved 
more than they had ever hoped to recover when the knell 
of hope was sounded and the pall of despair cast about the 
bier of the Confederacy. The sons of those who shed 
their blood in her behalf had grown up to manhood ; new 
States had been builded on the soil of the old, and a new 
form of society was struggling for a precarious existence 
amid the fragments of a shattered civilization. 

For the first time since the sun of Appomattox set in 
blood and lamentation, the children of the South met to 
greet and honor the chief of the Confederacy. Xature 



had hidden the footsteps of war. The battlements were 
up-grown with verdure, and the plow passed unheeded 
back and forth where the cannon had belched fortli its 
fateful flame. The Queen City of the South had given 
way to one grander still. Even the lone chimneys that 
marked the path of the destroyer's hordes had almost dis- 
appeared. A new era had come. Yet the old was not 

The quarter of a century which lay between the in- 
auguration of the President of the Confederacy and his 
first return to the scene of his exaltation, was unquestion- 
ably tlie most remarkable that the world has ever known. 
The conflict which followed, notable enough in its charac- 
ter — the heroic attempt of eight millions of freemen to cre- 
ate a new empire and at the same time defend it against the 
assault of three times their number, armed with the power and 
prestige of organized and established government 
was as nothing in comparison with the events which 
followed. A civilization which was the growth of two 
hundred and fifty years had been swept away and the forms 
of another distinct and contrasted development were imposed 
upon a conquered people, who were then restored to power 
and expected to operate successfully the strange machinery 
so foreign to all their preconceptions, so hostile to all their 
cherished ideas. 

The result was both amazing and ridiculous. The 


new forms remained undisturbed, but the old ideas reas- 
serted their power. Slavery was destroyed, but subordina- 
tion remained. The freedman was a voter, but the white 
man controlled him in the exercise of the power of the 
citizenship. Force and fraud and terror had 
deprived the system imposed by force of all its 
vitality. Even the forms of law themselves were invoked 
to defeat the purposes of law. The slave had served his 
master with his hands. The freedman yielded to the 
dominant race the power a victorious enemy had vested in 
him, to exercise as suited their good pleasure. The North 
was disgusted and astounded at the result of its philan- 
thropic experiment. The South exulted in its triumph 
and laughed at the curious confusion of its ancient enemy. 
" Reconstruction " became a byword of reproach to its pro- 
moters and of exultation to its intended victims. What 
was meant to be tolerance and mercy came to be regarded 
as tyranny and oppression. Those who were at first stig- 
matized as "rebels'' and ^•'traitors" posed, even in the 
eyes of their triumphant enemies, as patriots and martyrs. 
So, after twenty years of waiting, the South was 
"again in the saddle." Her influence in the nation was 
again dominant ; her interests were still distinct, and her 
counsels even more undivided than ever before. Though 
using the name of a national party, the South was solidly 
''Southern " rather than solidly Democratic. Politically 
there was no division of sentiment. Every governor, every 


judge, every senator save one or two, every representative 
in Congress save five, evei-y State officer, almost every 
county officer, the mayor and police of every city, more 
than nine-tenths of the inferior magistracy and the inferior 
administrative judicial officers; at least four-fifths of the 
white population, and probably a still greater proportion 
of the Avealtli and intelligence of this region — all these 
were what was well termed " Southern " in every impulse 
and motive. They were Democratic simply because that 
party was deemed favorable, not so much to Southern in- 
terests as to Southern sentiment. 

Even after the downfall of the Confederacy our peo- 
ple had retained the instincts of loyalty to its sentiments, 
traditions and martyrs. The heroes of that conflict were 
the heroes of its civil life. To those who defended it on 
the battlefield it intrusted its destiny in peace, with un- 
•flinching confidence in their fealty. Into the halls of Con- 
gress it sent the soldiers who had upl)orne its flag ; and 
into the seats of honor and emolument, throughout its 
whole extent, it inducted those who had been faithful to 
its behest in the hour of peril and humiliation. The South 
was indeed "'in the saddle" throughout all that region 
over which the ''Stars and Bars" had spread their conse- 
crating folds, while in the national government she exer- 
cised precisely the same percentage of authority as before 
the attempt to break the bonds that bound her to an un- 
sympathetic, if not hostile, yoke-fellow. 


This power it exercised with far greater unanimity 
than it had ever done before. But would this predomi- 
nance be permanent ? Once she had controlled the exer- 
cise of national authority for a generation. Could she do 
so again ? This was the question our wisest and best were 
asking themselves. It is said that blood makes a very 
strong cement, and the sentimentalists of the North were 
never tired of boasting how much stronger the Union would 
be after it had been cemented with blood. Our people at 
the South did not deny this ; but it was a conundrum 
many of them tried in vain to solve. Why the blood of 
our heroes, shed in a futile attempt to sunder this relation, 
should tend to increase its strength was a question vrhich 
only the metaphysical acumen of the North could solve. 
Yet for a long time there was no sign of weakness — no vis- 
ible lesion. 

" This is the most glorious day since Christ rose from 
the dead ! " repeated the impassioned orator, trembling 
with excitement as he spoke. Beside him stood a slender 
figure, pallid and gray, showing the v/eakness of age in 
every gesture, yet with something left of that graceful 
pride which marked his mien when he took the oath of of- 
fice, while the cannon thundered and a new nationality was 
born, a quarter of a century before. The shrill tremor of 
the ''Rebel yell" our enemies learned so well to dread, 
rose again on the air. The early summer sunshine was 


clouded with the heavy, acrid powder smoke, while the 
morning air palpitated with the echo of the welcoming 
guns. Gray-bearded men shouted and wept. Hot tears 
flowed down the matrons' cheeks. Maidens waved their 
handkerchiefs, while flushed face and flashing eye told 
their exultant joy. Young men shrieked themselves 
hoarse in greeting to the leader at whose command their 
fathers had gone forth to die. Around the leader stood the 
veterans of the army of which he had been the official head — 
maimed and whole, officers and privates — their hearts 
swelling with unutterable memories of the days of battle 
and victory, of trust in the new nation's future and sorrow 
in its overthrow. The " Stars and Bars," after twenty 
years in hiding, flashed forth into the light, and the multi- 
tude redoubled the fierce acclaim. 

''Glorious day Christ resurrection dead !" 

shrieked the frantic orator in half-intelligible staccato. A 
people were greeting the incarnation of their thought — the 
one martyr of their cause, which, though accounted ''lost," 
must forever be loved ! Since the American Colonies were 
founded no such ovation had ever been offered within their 
limits to living man or dead hero as that which greeted the 
aged President of the Confederacy in his triumphal proces- 
sion through the two greatest States of the South. 

Why was it ? The cause he had represented had 
failed. The war waged under his direction had impover- 
ished the entire people. The negro, whose enslavement it 


had been fought to perpetuate, because of it had been made 
free. On all that had been undertaken under his auspices 
hung the corroding rust of failure. As the administrative 
head of the Confederacy, there was little in his history to 
appeal to pride ; as the commander-in-chief of her 
armies, his interference with the plans of his subordinates 
had been an almost certain presage of disaster. There are 
many, even of our foes, who believe that if the civil admin- 
istration of the Confederacy had been a par with 
its military achievements, the bright banner would never 
have kissed the dust. As a man, Jefferson Davis was by 
no means worthy of the veneration offered him. As an 
official, his record was marked by incapacity and vacilla- 
tion, and his subsequent life by evasive and querulous ac- 
cusation of his subordinates. 

Why did this man's coming make the day "the 
most glorious since Christ rose from the dead " and impel 
a people to give him a welcome never before accorded to 
any ? Flowers lay thick along the path he had come, 
their petals crushed by his carriage like bleeding hearts 
beneath the chariot wheels of Juggernaut. Children lined 
the way chanting his praise. Mothers leaned over the 
heads of their offspring to catch a sight of the face which 
loved ones, now dead, had pictured for them in the days of 
hopefulness. The schools were empty, and their bells 
joined the exultant clangor that rang from all the city's 
spires. Even the children from the colored schools were 


there, bearing floral offerings and gazing with wide-eyed 
wonder at the man who represented the cause which meant 
their continued enslavement. And with them were their 
teachers, too — IS^orthern born men and women — who for 
the sake of their daily bread graced the Southern leader's 
triumioh. What did this spontaneous ovation mean ? It 
meant that the Southern people were free again to do 
honor to the one martyr for their cause. The marks of the 
shackles were upon his wrists ! The curse of exclusion 
rested upon his brow I In his native land he was an exile 
— the one man punished for a pcojjle s fault ! 

No wonder they wept ! No wonder they shouted ! 
No wonder the heavens throbbed with multitudinous ac- 
claim ! A people who had risen triumphant from defeat; 
a people who had transformed the conqueror's lash into 
the scepter of victory; a people who for a score of years 
had spoken only with bated breath of the glorious days en- 
shrined in their memories — such a people offered honor and 
sympathy and gratitude to the one man who had suffered 
in a felon's cell for their transgression I Xo wonder the 
fervid orator could think of nothing but the primal Easter 
morning as he looked upon that sea of upturned faces and 
felt beside him the trembling form of that martyr to faith 
that would not die, who for twenty-four years had slept in 
the sepulchre of unjust oblivion ! 

It was this spectacle that banished doubt and brought 
inspiration. From that day my life was transformed from 


one of patient, hopeless waiting to one of confident, un- 
resting effort. That night tlie Order of the Knights 
of the Southern Cross was formed. The venerable Presi- 
dent of the Confederacy held the hilt of my father's 
sword while a hundred fervent young patriots kissed with 
reverent lips the blade. Ah ! many thousands have kissed it 
since, and not one has proven recreant to the oath thus 
solemnly attested. 


The Indian jugglers make a tree grow from a seed 
while the spectator stands gazing in wonder at the spread- 
ing leaf, the springing buds, the unfolded flower, and be- 
fore he can recover from his surprise the necromancer 
hands to him the perfect fruit, plucked before his eyes 
from the branches. It is said that one Avho has witnessed 
the marvel of necromantic skill feels forever after doubt- 
ful whether an hour or an age elapsed while he watched 
and wondered. 

Not less marvelous to me was the growth of the new 
Order. I had planted the seed half-unconsciously, hardly 
expecting any fruitage and anticipating at least a life- 
time of delay. But events spring rapidly when the 
soil is well prepared, and the blood of our fathers had not 
sunk into the earth in vain. Their cause had failed, but 
their holy teachings had fallen on willing ears and found 
lodgment in earnest hearts. The long fallow had not been 
unfruitful. The sons had not only inlierited their fathers' 
devotion, but had learned wisdom from the lessons which 
their fathers' failure taught. They were ready for the 
new dispensation of liberty which had come from the last 

EIGHTY-NiyE. 345 

blood-stained field of the great War for Separation. They 
were ready to believe that 

" Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war," 

So, even while I wondered at my own audacity in plant- 
ing the seed at all, the tree sprang up and over-shadowed me 
with its branches. Before another sunset came a thou- 
sand lips had pressed the war-worn blade; before the moon 
had waxed and waned again the iron cross with its white 
stars flashed on manly bosoms in every State hallowed by 
the blood of Confederate heroes. In less than a year the 
names of half a million knights were on its muster-rolls. 
Before yet another twelve-mouth had passed three-fourths of 
all the white men of the South were numbered among its 
members, and nearly half the youths between the ages of 
fifteen and twenty were enthusiastic novitiates. 

Much speculation has been indulged in with regard to 
the origin and character of the Order, and I have been 
greatly praised and gi'eatly blamed for the part I took 
in its establishment and dissemination. As has 
been seen, its origin was due to accident rather than de- 
sign. I was made its first Commander. Indeed, until its 
funeral rites have been performed about my bier I shal] 
be its only head. 

After that, if my wishes are regarded by my brethren, 
the Companions of the Order, as I trust they may be, it 
will be forever dissolved. I do not say this that I may 


have the honor of having been its sole Grand Master, 
though I confess I should j^rize such honor very highly, but 
because I am thoroughly satistied that however valuable 
such organizations may be in the formative period of a 
nationality, when that has passed and questions of policy 
and administration begin to arise on which individual 
opinions may differ and personal interests may clash, they 
are not only of doubtful value but actually i^erilous to the 
public peace. The Knights of the Southern Cross have 
done their work. Our native land has taken her place 
among the nations of the earth. Henceforth her destiny 
is in her own hands, and depends upon the wisdom and 
justice of her people as expressed through their chosen rep- 
resentatives. It is not to be supposed that any people will 
always be free from the malign forces of ambition, or that 
honor will always animate the hearts of their leaders. I 
trust, however, that there will be no unnecessary oppor- 
tunity offered to the ambitious leader or the crafty con- 
spirator, and that the instrument which was employed to 
create the new Eepublic will never be the weapon used to 
destroy it. Such extraordinary combinations of individu- 
als are adapted to do good only at extraordinary times. 
The crisis for which the Southern Cross arose has passed. 
I would fain believe that its setting light may shine upon 
my grave and that its starry cross may be preserved only as 
the glorious emblem of our bloodless victory. 

To say that I have devoted myself to the extension 


aud establisliment of the Order is only to aver that I have 
fulfilled the mission of my life. As reverently as He who 
sorrowed in Gethsemaue do I believe that "for this thing 
came I into the world."' If I have been unselfishly de- 
voted to its jjrosperity and success, I have only done my 

But let me not even by implication claim too much. 
With all the advantages in its favor it is doubtful 
if the Order of the Southern Cross would have spread 
so marvelously or have attained its purpose with 
such remarkable facility had not an unknown ally myste- 
riously upstayed my hands. Until that time the estate left 
me by my sainted wife had been untouched. I used it 
freely to promote the interests of the Order. When this 
fund was nearly exhausted I was notified that a large sum 
had been deposited to my credit in one of our banks. I 
sought in vain to discover whence it came. The donor had 
taken good care to conceal his identity. The deposit was 
always m the form of Bank of England drafts to my credit, 
and "the old woman of Threadueedle street" never bab- 
bles the secrets of her patrons. In the grim silence of her 
walls the clue was lost. Yet from that hour my account 
was like the widow's cruse of oil, in that it never failed. 
First and last, the sum which came from this mysterious 
source was immense, and yonder, in those volumes of stubs, 
each of which represents a check drawn for the good of 
our cause, is the record of my stewardship. I knew noth- 

348 EIGHl T-I^INE. 

ing of the souroe of this supply until I learned it from my 
mother's lips when she came to my bedside clad in the 
weeds of her second widowhood. 

The organization of the Order of the Southern Cross 
was of the simplest character. Its purpose was undoubt- 
edly revolutionary, but it aimed at revolution by legitimate 
and peaceful means. 

The Federal Government is organized upon a 
singular principle. Undoubtedly intended to be national 
in character, its powers Avere so restricted as to permit the 
utmost liberty of thought and action uj^on the part of its 
people, even so far as regarded its own maintenance and 
continuation. Rebels themselves, its founders had more 
than once been in pei'il of life and limb from constructive 
treason. They knew tliat the form of government they 
were devising was not perfect, and desired to put no obsta- 
cle in the way of needed change. They provided in the Con- 
stitution, therefore, that no action or utterance should be ac- 
counted treasonable, except the actual levying of war against 
the Government. It might, indeed, punish sedition; which, 
however, could only be construed to be a violent interference 
with the piiblic peace or counseling armed resistance to 
its authority. Under the Constitution of the United 
States, therefore, it was perfectly laAvful to support, coun- 
sel and advise any conceivable change in the form or char- 
acter of the Government, or even the disruption of the Union 
hy penceabh means. 


This is precisely what the Order sought to accomplish. It 
advocated peaceful revolution. There had already been 
three attempts on the part of the South to escape from the 
control of the Federal Government. It is a notable fact that 
none of these looked to a subversion of that Gov'ernment or a 
usurpation of its powers. This fact alone deprived 
these attempts of a strictly revolutionary aspect. The peo- 
ple of the South have never been the enemies of republican 
government. On the contrary, they have been its truest 
and staun chest supporters. Even in the hour of their 
sorest extremity, when confidence in Lee was unbounded 
and in Davis well-nigh destroyed, they did not do as any 
other people would have done in like extremity, give dic- 
tatorial power to the trusted general, but staunchly ad- 
hered to the constitutional forms they had established. 
They did not wish to conquer, control or subvert the Gov- 
ernment of the United States, but merely to establish for 
themselves a government better suited, as they conceived, 
to their local needs, leaving the Federal Union intact as 
far as those to whose conditions it was still adapted were 

The first of these attempts, known as Nullification, 
simply asserted the paramount sovereignty of the State 
within its own limits by denying the validity and threaten- 
ing to resist the enforcement of Federal enactments by 
State authority. This movement was strictly in accord- 
ance with the political view of the Constitution known as 


the '' State Rights " doctrine, which regarded the Federal 
Union as a voluntary league of constituent republics rather 
than a consolidated nationality. The movement failed in its 
incipiency. Thepeo^Dle of the South, while approving the 
doctrine by a large majority, did not deem tlie occasion one 
of sufficient general importance to warrant an appeal to 

The next attempt was that resulting in the War for 
Separation. If consisted, in it:^ hist analysis, of a denial 
of the right of the Government of the United States to 
subvert the sovereignty of a State — or, in other words, was 
an assertion of tlie right of the people of a State to elect their 
own form of government and their own political affiliates. 
The appeal to arms in su[)port of this theory resultefl in 
unprecedented defeat. 

The third was an unformulated assertion of the power 
of the people of the State to render inoperative the laws of 
the United States, not by denial of their validity or by 
seeking to impair their sanction, but by compelling those 
in whose behalf they were enacted to abdicate and renounce 
the rights intended to be conferred thereby. Tlie chief of 
these were what seemed to the people of the North mere 
incidents of the overthrow of our armies, but Avhich were 
regarded by the people of the South as subversive of our 
civilization and society, as well as inconsistent with their 
rights as citizens of the several States. As they could not 
successfully resist the power of the Nation, nor dispute its 

ElGHTT.NiyE. 35I 

right to make the negro a citizen and a voter, they ap- 
pealed to force and terror to compel the Negro to refrain 
from exercising the right thus conferred. The States were 
prohibited by the constitutional amendments from restrict- 
ing or denying the rights conferred upon the colored man 
by any statutory act, but there was notliing to prevent its 
being done by voluntary cooperation of the whites. 

In this attempt, therefore, they were entirely successful. 
The million or more of colored voters at the South were ren- 
dered as powerless in a political sense as when they were 
mere chattels in the eyes of the law. This was done by 
means of various allied secret associations, which came to 
be known under the generic term of the Kuklux Klan. 
These kindred organizations numbered more than half a 
million in the different States of the South. Their final 
suppression was due to the fact that they had foolishly 
and needlessly infringed the laAv ; but the same influence 
Avas continued and the result perpetuated by the 
organization of "Rifle Clubs," ''Red Shirt Companies," 
and other bodies of white men, who, without dis- 
guise or specific threat, deterred the inferior race from ex- 
ercising the rights conferred upon them by the display of 
overwhelming force and unmistakable innuendo. Against 
such combinations the Federal Government was 
powerless to protect the new-made citizens to whom it 
had guaranteed equal political privileges with the former 
ruling class. By this means the people of the South re- 

.352 EIGHT Y-NIN E . 

conquered from their conquerors the power to control the 
government and destiny of the South, It was a remark- 
able triumph. They simply rendered the right of suffrage 
a curse and not a blessing to the Negro by making the 
security of his person and property dependent upon the 
completeness of his surrender of the governing function to 
the white race. Even those of the dominant race who had 
favored the conqueror during the conflict or counselled a 
peaceful submission to the degrading terms imposed upon 
a subjugated people were put under an irrevocable ban. 
When their power had become so slight that it might safely 
be despised, they were tolerated; up to that point they 
Avere rigidly proscribed. Throughout the entire South, in 
fact, every function of government and the absolute con- 
trol of public sentiment were in the hands of exactly the 
same men who would have exercised them if the War for 
Separation had never occurred. 

This undivided and indivisible force, allying itself 
with the Democratic ])arty of the Xorth, secured at length 
absolute control of the Federal Government and the South 
was once more "in the saddle." Thus the curious 
spectacle was presented of the party which had preserved 
the Union from disruption excluded from its direction by 
the combination of the two elements which had resisted 
and opposed its course in coercing the sovereign States of 
the South to submit to the yoke of Federal dominion. 

While it was evident that this remarkable state of af- 


fairs could not long exist, it showed, better than anything 
had ever done before, the distinctiveness and solidarity of the 
Southern people as well as the amazing tenacity with 
which they adhered to ideas and principles once thoroughly 
established among them. It showed, too, a remarkable 
power for organization and cooperation in matters of a 
public nature — in other words, that thorough and com- 
plete crystallization of sentiment my father had so clearly 
prevised, which is the unmistakable index of separate nation- 
ality. Especially notable in all these movements was the 
fact of loyalty to one another as a popular sentiment. No 
Southern man was ever a traitor to the South. During 
the War for Separation even those who were lukewarm 
were looked upon with suspicion, and no subsequent sub- 
mission to the popular will was ever sufficient to restore 
them to popular favor. In the last of these movements 
their secretive power was especially revealed and tested. 
More than half a million of men belonged to the secret or- 
ders mentioned, and their existence was well understood 
by several millions more; yet the whole power of the Gov- 
ernment was hardly able to establish the general fact, and 
very few were ever convicted for participation in even 
tbe most indiscreet and criminal of their acts. The peo- 
ple of the North can never be relied on to stand by North- 
ern men. Northern ideas or Northern interests, as such ; 
but the South raises no traitors and breeds no " dough- 
faces." It may have enemies, but tolerates no neutrals. 

354 EIGHTY yiyE. 

With these facts estubliahed, it was nearly inipossiu'C 
to have erred iu the orgauizatiou of the Order of the 
Southern Cross. It was merely an order of voluntary 
knighthood, pledged to perpetuate the memory of South- 
ern heroes, preserve the purity of Southern ideals, and 
promote in every lawful manner the best interests of the 
Southern people. They were especially bound not to take 
up arms, nor counsel, advise or approve resistance to the 
Government of the United States; l)ut to promote in all 
peaceful, honorable and constitutional methods the sepa- 
ration of the South from the Federal Union as a thing es- 
sential to the peace and prosperity, not only of the South, 
but of the Caucasian race in America. They were bound 
to do all that might lawfully be done to prevent the negro, 
or any individual or party through him or with his coop- 
eration and assistance, from obtaining, holding or exercis- 
ing any political power or control in any city, county or 
State, or in the Federal Union, while the South should con- 
tinue a part thereof. Beyond this the Order was pledged 
to exert no political influence, and to take no political ac- 
tion. It had no candidates, held no conventions, and ex- 
pressed no preferences as betAveen the true sons of the 

Our Order was of course secret ; but its organization 
was so unique that this statement gives no key to its char- 
acter. Xow that its work is accomplished, I may without 
impropriety indicate the mechanism by which it operated. 


It had no lodges, camps, degrees or stated meetings. Any five 
members of tlie Order might examine, test and initiate a new- 
Companion. They iiad only to notify the Grand Secretary 
of the Order of the name and residence of the initiate and 
the names of the knights present at his confirmation. 
On receipt of this the Grand Secretary forwarded totlie new 
member his badge, properly engraved. By this simple 
means a perfect roster of the organization was kept, show- 
ing at a glance the exact number in each county and the 
name and post-office address of each. 

The Supreme Council was composed of one member 
from each state, chosen by the Grand Master. They met only 
on the call of the Grand Master. No record of their ac- 
tion was ever made. They were known only to each other, 
the Grand Secretary and the Grand Master. They were 
advisers merely, the Grand Master taking all responsibility 
for the acts of the Order; though it is to their wisdom and 
prudence that the success of our plans is chiefly due. 
I s])eak of these things in the past tense. The Councillors 
handed in their resignations on the day of our great 
Jubilee, and it was my intention to have published the 
fact, destroyed all the records, and declared the Order dis- 
solved upon the next day. In view of what then occurred, 
I liave summoned the Council to meet once more — Avhen I 
am dead. I trust it may be for the last time. 

Meetings of the Order were as a rule discouraged; 
and could not be held without leave of the Grand Master 

356 EI G II T 7- NINE. 

except in case of an emergency. I was fully satisfied that 
frequent meetings and too cumbrous an organization had 
been the bane of all previous organizations of similar char- 
acter. The uniform was simply a short white tunic, very 
full upon the shoulders, buttoned at the wrist, bordered 
with blue and belted with red. Its cost was strictly 
limited to one dollar, so that the poorest might 
be as well clothed as the richest, and the tendency to pomp 
and extravagance be repressed. There was but one general 
parade ordered until that which was called to celebrate 
the complete accomplishment of our purpose. This was 
just previous to the presidential election in 1888, 
when there were signs of a determination on the part of 
the colored people to oppose our purpose and precipitate a 
conflict of races by insisting upon an independent exercise 
of the power with which they had been legally clothed. 
This it was found necessary to suppress, and a formal 
parade was ordered at midnight in every city and village of 
the South. As soon as the hour had struck the signal was 
given on the church bells — three quick strokes, three times 
repeated — and silently and swiftly the Knights stepped out of 
their Iiomes and, two by two, sought the appointed rendez- 
vous — more than a million white-robed minute men muster- 
ing at the same instant in the villages of fifteen States ! It 
was enough. There were no masks, no threats, no acts of 
violence — but no colored man ever afterward projiosed to 
act in opposition to the decrees of the Order. Indeed, 


very many hastened to put themselves under our j)rotec- 
tion and guidance, by joining the corps of Colored Cadets. 
As membership therein was limited to those who could 
read and write, or had acquired a specific amount of prop- 
erty, and whose applications were approved by at least a 
hundred Knights, it soon became practically an order of no- 
bility among them to which the best aspired. To the in- 
fluence of our Cadets with the people of the North we owe 
in a very considerable measure the fact that our great 
object was attained, not only without bloodshed, but 
without any serious danger of conflict. 


The credit of having devised the plan by which the 
iiutonomy of the Southern Kepublic was finally secured 
has been generally, but quite unjustly, accorded to me. As 
has been seen, I was responsible for the establishment and 
character of the Southern Cross, While the Supreme 
Council has loyally supported, and in many instances im- 
proved upon the plans of the Grand Master, it is yet true 
that it has kindly, and no doubt wisely, refrained from 
any important modification of the same which might have 
fettered my activity and imperilled our success. In the 
ability to follow intelligently yet trustfully a leader in 
whom they have confidence without interfering with or re- 
vising his plans, the people of the South undoubtedly excel 
all democracies known to history, offering in this respect a 
striking contrast to their congeners of the North. 

Beyond the extension, consolidation and general over- 
sight of the work of this Order and the initiation of some 
movements following upon th« success of our plan to pre- 
vent an election of President and Vice-President of the 
United States, I am not entitled to any special credit for 
the result. Singularly enough we are indebted for the main 


features of this plan to one of those singular loroducts of 
Northern life — the leader, I might almost say, the brain, 
of our Northern allies. 

That we had allies at the North without whose assist- 
ance we could not have succeeded is very well known, as well 
as the fact that both extremes of Northern life — its wealth 
and its poverty — the Labor Reformers and the combined 
Monopolists — at one time or another cooperated with us 
in our movement for separation. The former have, indeed, 
openly alleged that the Order of the Southern Cross, or 
rather I as its rej)resentative, broke faith with them in re- 
gard to the election of a President. The charge is entirely 
without foundation. I did agree that a sufficient number 
of Southern electoral votes should be thrown for their 
candidate to prevent the election of the Democratic nomi- 
nee, a pledge which was faithfully redeemed. It was made 
with the full knowledge and consent of the Monopolist 
'•'pool," and in pursnance of the very plan suggested by its 
head. Beyond that T held out no inducements and the 
Labor Party had no reason to expect any farther assistance 
from us. 

The fact that I did not disclose our alliance with their 
special enemies does not render me liable to the charge of 
duplicity, since they well knew that the votes thrown for 
their candidates were given not to promote their interest but 
our own. The truth is that the leaders of both these ele- 
ments were anxious that separation should take place, pro- 


videcl only it could be effected without tlieir direct and 
visible support. The reasons for this, though apparent 
enough at a glance, I deem essential to my own justification 
to set forth. Each was aware that the time was near at 
hand when there must be a trial of strength between them, 
and each felt confident of success in this trial, if only the 
doubtful and uncertain element of Southern votes and 
Southern influence could be eliminated. The labor ele- 
ment felt itself hopelessly weighted with the eight millions 
of weak, ignorant and dependent colored laborers of the 
South ; while the Monopolists dreaded that spirit of fair 
play and an equal chance to all which has been so peculiarly 
characteristic of our Southern society. They felt that 
associated capital, despite the prevalent idea of aristocratic 
inclination among us, Avas hopeless to influence or control 
the political action of a people impatient of all leadership 
except that which follows rather than prescribes their in- 
clination. So each of the opposing elements of Northern 
life desired to be rid of a force possibly liostile and certainly 
unreliable because it was affected by conditions too dis- 
similar to permit of thorough sympathy with either. 

Hardly had the existence and character of our Order 
become known, therefore, when I began to receive overtures 
from both these sources. Its simplieitv and effectiveness 
awakened the distrust of the representatives of both. The 
labor organizations of the North were little more than 
clamorous cabals, united by a mere sense of individual ad- 


vantage and likely to be broken up whenever any clique or 
faction conceived it to be profitable to them as individuals to 
withdraw from their control. In fact they were only a loose 
agglomeration of societies having a common purpose but no 
common method or design. The excessive individualism of 
the North in truth prevents all compactness and harmony 
of association, since there is not, as at the South, 
any common bond of loyalty to an ideal or devotion to a 
sentiment to insure subordination on the part of the 
masses. An organization without ganglionic branches and 
semi-independent heads was to them very naturally a surprise. 
The Federal idea has in truth infected everything connected 
with the life of the North until an organization not com- 
posed of successive representations seems to them hardly 
less than incredible. 

To be referred from all quarters, not to some local 
council or chapter but always to the G-rand Master for in- 
formation, seemed to the half-authorized delegations who 
sought our aid an aiiomaly, and their surprise increased 
when I informed them that we could not treat with them 
since they were not authorized to promise anything more 
than a vague endeavor; while whatever I miglit covenant 
to do in the name of the Order would certainly be per- 
formed. Afterward, however, I was present during cer- 
tain negotiations carried on between representatives of the 
Democratic party and the leaders of the Labor move- 
inent, to which allusion has alreadv been made. In this 


case I insisted upon explaining to the Labor dele- 
gates to the conference that I did not speak as 
Grand Master, or promise anything within the gift or con- 
trol of the Order. For the fulfillment of the condi- 
tions agreed upon they must rely entirely upon the 
pledges of the Northern Democrats, whom we had no 
power to coerce or control, and who, I was bound to say, 
had always proved false to the people of the South when 
an emergency had arisen. In this case the agreement was 
faithfully carried out on both sides. At that time there 
was no intention of giving them the votes of Kentucky and 

Bat if the Labor forces of the North were but loosely 
organized we had another ally whose discipline was such as 
to throw even that of our Order into the shade. So far as 
I am aware, the combined Monopolists of the North con- 
sisted of one man only. Who he represented, how they 
were organized, and what the extent of his power, I never 
knew. One thing is certain, whatever this man promised, 
that he did. Another thing is equally sure, they were 
united together simply by a common bond of material in- 
terest, which constitutes the strongest ligament with which 
an average Northern man can be joined to anotlier. Friend- 
ship, honor and even kinship, are weak and frangible ties 
compared with the bond of mutual interest which they 
call business. 

The circumstances of this alliance were of so singular 


and striking a character that I feel not only justified but 
required to state them in detail, since they were known to 
mc alone with one other. If, in so doing, I am compelled 
to refer to certain matters of a private and personal nature 
concerning this other, it is only because another chose his 
own house as the theatre of negotiation with regard to public 
affairs. Besides, the chief incident was long ago made 
public by the press of the Korth, which leaves nothing 
hidden which can be found out. 


It was something more than a year after the organiza- 
tion of our Order that, happening to be in tlie city of New 
York, I received a call from Mr. Stoningham, the Presi- 
dent of the Rock Oil Trust, whose kinsman had been a 
neighbor of General Fairbanks. The ostensible object of 
his visit was to confer with me in regard to Sagamo Lodge, 
which General Faij-banks had re-purchased and held in 
his own name. It was the public ownership of so 
valuable a property that had directed attention to the re- 
habilitation of his fortunes, though he was still 
effectually hidden under the alias he had assumed in 
his foreign home. Mr. Stoningham hud communicated to 
me his desire to secure this property as the location for a 
girl's school, or college. The purchase had been made through 
me, and it was natural that the offer of Mr. Stoningham 
should be made to me. Upon my communicating this offer 
to General Fairbanks, he at once notified me of his willing- 
ness to give the property for the purpose indicated under cer- 
tain conditions. It was in regard to these that Mr. Stoning- 
ham came to confer. 

The result of these negotiations was the establishment of 
Fairbanks Seminary, a sum equal to the estimated value of 



the property being given by Mr. Stoningham for its improve- 
ment. Its buildings are palatial in character. Above the mar- 
ble entrance are carved the words : "In memory of Edith 
Fairbanks- Owen." The father meant it for a monument 
which would preserve his daughter's memory among that 
very class who had been so ready to denounce and disown 
when misfortune fell on him and his. It was a curious 
impulse, but I do not doubt that the man who devised it 
took great delight in contemplating the fact that by estab- 
lishing a school beyond the means of all but the daughters 
of the very richest, he was avenging the slights his daughter 
had received at their hands. It was a unique revenge, but 
a life made up of such contradictory elements as that of the 
North necessarily becomes a hot-bed of idiosyncracies. I 
did not wholly apjirove of what was done, but the father 
had an undoubted right to erect such a monument as he 
might choose to his daughter's memory. 

To Mr. Stoningham the matter bore a very different 
complexion. To him it was an act of wise and judicious 

" TTe think too much of the poor and not enough of 
the rich," he said. " The day of cheap things and pauper 
institutions is about over. That is, the supply is equal to 
the demand and more too. By herding rich and jDOor to- 
gether, we are making paupers of the j)oor and destroying 
the spirit of the rich. It is no crime to be poor, but a rich 
man is just as good as a poor man, and our children should 


be taught to respect themselves. After all, it is to the rich, 
the actually or potentially rich, that the country must look 
for prosperity. I wish General Fairbanks would return. 
We have need of just such men at this time in public life. 
What with Socialists and Anarchists and Knights of 
Labor threatening the peace of society, we need men of 
wealth who have the qualities and experience of the soldier. 
I misunderstood General Fairbanks once — or rather our 
interests clashed — and he went under." ( The keen-eyed 
little man corrected himself with a smile which had in it 
more exultation than he was probably aware.) " I am sure 
we should get on better now. At one time it was hard to 
tell which would come out ahead. If it had been my luck 
to be the under dog, I doubt if I should have shown the 
nerve h6 has displayed. You see it is hard work for a man 
to get up when he falls so far — not that the load is so heavy; 
often it is not half as hard as trying not to fall — but he has 
no help. Eich people are very credulous. As long as a 
man is thought to possess millions, he can control millions 
more — as many as he likes, almost. But as soon as he 
needs help, no one would let him have a thousand. Even I 
would rather help a man who is coming up the first time 
than one who has been down once. I don't know why. I 
am sure I pity the other fellow; but perhaps it isn't pity — 
perhaps it is only instinct." 

" Or policy," I suggested. 

" No, it isn't policy, Mr. Owen. You've heard what 


is said of me, I suppose, and no doubt thinK I am hard and 
selfish; but I am not — that is, not more so than other men. 
My wife used to say, when I was making my fight and get- 
ting up the liill, that she never knew a man to be made 
better by being rich. She don^t say it any more and I 
don't believe it ever was true — as a rule, I mean. Of 
course a rich man may be bad, but what would he have 
been if he had remained poor ? That is the question. The 
fact is, it is a great deal easier to be good Avhen one has 
everything he wants ; just as a child with a houseful of 
playthings is apt to be better natured than one that has only 
'■ an old shoe, nine oyster-shells, and a dead kitten by way 
of toys,' as Hood says." 

I laughed and he took up his hat to go. 

" By the way," he said, as if he had just thought of 
it, " my friend Martling tells me you have gotten yourself 
a toy lately." 

I looked at him inquiringly. 

" The Knights of the Southern Cross — is that the 
name ? " 

I bowed with a smile. 

" You are the — Chief Mogul, or whatever it is, they 
tell me." 

I nodded assent again. 

"Ah, indeed — very sentimental.'' 

" Not at all," I answered quietly, " very practical." 

"Whatl" he exclaimed, throwing his hat upon the 


table and sitting clown o^^posite me again. " You do not 
mean to try to break up tlie Union?" 

"Not at all." 

"What then ? " 

"Only to take care of the pieces when it falls apart." 

"Yes; very good — very good," he repeated absently, 
looking as if he saw beyond me, yet without removing his 
his eyes from mine. "Wiien it falls apart, eh? Then 
you think it will fall apart ? '*' 

" Unquestionably." 

'• How soon ?" 

" That I cannot tell — very soon, I think." 

" So. And you intend to take care of the South ? " 

T bowed. 

"' How many are you ? " ho looked keenly at me as he 
asked the question. 

"Why do you ask ? " 

" Because I wish to know. Isent Martling South to 
ascertain that and other things about the Order. He went 
everywhere and tried every means to find out. I am not 
sure that he was not initiated." 

" He was," I answered quietly. 

"Ah, you knew that I " I could perceive that I had 
risen in his regard by the tone he used. 

Yes," he continued, with an auiused smile, "he was 
initi:ited and found that ho knew just exactly as much as he 
did before. He could tell another Knight wheii he tried hiiu, 


but that was all. No one knew any more than he. He had 
run against a stone-wall. It is not often that Martling 
is beaten. Finally he wrote to the Grand Secretary, by 
whom he was referred to you." 

''And I refused to see him," I interrupted. 
''Exactly, and Martling had to come home just as 
wise as he went away. I think this is the second time you 
have got ahead of him. But you might have seen him; he 
is not such a bad fellow, after all. 

"There can be no communication between us," I 
answered. " If you wished to know anything you should 
have asked yourself." 

"Well, I will," said he, facing suddenly toward me. 
" How many Knights — as you call them — arc there ? Do 
you know ? " 

"I know how many there were last night." 

" Is report made to you daily ? " 

I bowed. As I did so, I saw a gleam of light flash into 
his eyes, and smiled as I read his thought. 

" You think you will soon know my secret ?" I asked. 

He answered with a shrug. 

"The gain each day is reported in a cipher, which 
even with this explanation you could not read in a hundred 
years. There is yesterday's," I added, handing him a dis- 
patch, "if you like to try." 

"Never mind," he said, glancing hastily at it. "What 
I want tokuoAvis, can vour Order control the South ?" 


*'Tlie South is always 'solid ' in her own interests." 

" By George ! " he exclaimed. '• You are right there ! 
But who controls the Order ? '' 

" The Grand Master, by and with the consent of the 
Supreme Council." 

''And they are— ?" 

*'Even the Grand Master is not allowed to reveal their 

" How many know the number of the Order ? " 

"The Grand Secretar}', the Grand Master and those 
to whom he may choose to reveal it." 

"And you have revealed it to — how many ?" 

'I have not yet found it necessary to reveal it to any one." 

" Indeed ? Not even to your Council ? " 

I shook my head. 

There were a few moments of silence. 

'• Mr. Owen, if one wanted to communicate with this 
Order confidentially and on matters of great importance, 
how could it be done ? " 

"Through the Grand Master," I replied. 

"In no other way ?" 


" Verbally or in writing ? " 

"That would be as he might desire." 

Mr. Stoningham rose from his chair and walked hast- 
ily once or twice across the room. Pausing he glanced 
keenly down at me. 


"Mr. Owen, how do I know you are to be trusted ?" 

"You do not doubt that I am the Grand Master ?" 

" No, indeed. That I know." 

" Through Martling's report," I said with a sneer. 

"Through your own dispatches, hundreds of which I 
have read," he answered quietly. He evidently expected 
that I would show surprise, but I did not. I had long sus- 
pected such scrutiny of my telegraphic communications and 
had taken measures to baffle it. 

" What more do you wish to know ? " 

" Only whether such communication would be regarded 
as strictly confidential. I know very well that you can 
keep a seeret; what troubles me is whether you would 
keep the one I might entrust you with." 

" I am a gentleman," I said somewhat pompously. 

"Which means — ?" he queried, 

" That I will always do whatever a gentleman ought 
to do." 

" And that is all you will say ? " he asked uneasily. 


He walked across the room again, very slowly, with 
his hands behind him and his head thrown back as if ex- 
amining the ceiling. Turning suddenly, he came and said, 
with a quick nervous manner, while his eyes flashed under 
his dark down-drawn brows, 

" I will risk it. Mr. Owen. I have an important com- 
munication I wish to nuike to you; but this is neither the 


time uor the place. Have you any engagements for this 
evening ? '' 

'' None of importance/' 

'' Good. Can you dine with me at six ? Then we can 
have a long evening to ourselves." 

I assented. 

"Very well. I will call for you at four-thirty and we 
will drive out. Good-bye." 

He had seized his liat and was gone almost before I 
realized his intention to take his departure. 


I am not easily awed by contact with greatness, for I 
have found in a life which has brought me close to many 
great names, that few lives at all come up to their renown. 
I could count upon my fingers, and have some to spare, 
the men who have not shrivelled upon near approach. 
Great soldiers, great statesmen, great authors, great artists 
— I have seen them all on closer scrutiny reveal themselves 
as little men or only great accidents. But this man, with 
the fixed, remote gaze, calm, impassive face and flashing 
dark eyes under his smooth brow, imjn'essed me as the 
greatest I had seen since I rode across the hills with my 
father when a nation's life hung in the balance. 

Somehow the two men affected me in much the same 
way. They resembled each other not only in form and 
feature, but even in voice and intellectual character there 
Avas a likeness. This impression was all the more surpris- 
ing as I had distinctly made up my mind not only to dis- 
trust but to dislike him. When I had time to analyze 
my feelings after his departure, I began to miderstand 
why it was that this simple, unpretentious man was to the 
world of finance precisely what Napoleon had been to the 



political world — the greatest of his age if not of all 
the ages. I no longer wondered that in twenty-four years 
he had risen from a clerk's desk to tlie management and 
control of more millions than any one ever had at his dis- 
posal before. He was simply a plain, direct, earnest man, 
who believed in himself and his fortune ; was w'ithout 
envy ; cared nothing for parade ; held himself no whit 
above tiie multitude whom he overreached and plundered, 
but had the utmost confidence iu iiis divine right to over- 
reach and plunder if he could. I did not approve of the 
man's woi'k any more than when he had entered my room 
an aour before: indeed I dreaded his power a great deal 
more; but 1 respected his manhood and felt that I coul<l 
trust his word. I do not hesitate to say after all that has 
occurred that I regard the President of the Rock Oil Trust 
as one of the most upright, reliable and conscientious men, 
when speaking and acting for himself, that I have ever 
known — and by all odds the ablest and most dangerous. 
It was characteristic of this man that on the stroke of 
the hour he had named he called for me, in a light, open 
vehicle — ''rig" it would have l)een called in the vernacu- 
lar of that region — driven by himself. I found him waiting 
at the edge of the curbstone in front of the hotel, his 
shapely hands clothed in tawny driving gloves, holding the 
reins over a pair of impatient roadsters. Even before he 
had spoken, with an inherited instinct I had taken in the 
ensemble of the turnout. To my eyes it was an exquisite 

EIG HT Y- NINE. 375 

picture — a span of blacks, undipped and glossy- coated, 
showing the unmistakable marks of speed, bottom and 
spirit Avhich go to make the jDerfect roadster; the harness 
black, almost without a hint of glazing, and with just a touch 
of gold on the headstalls; the wagon light — too light I 
thought at first for the rough streets we had to traverse — 
but one of those marvels of strength and elasticity which 
only American skill has ever put into wheel vehicles. 

" I beg your pardon,"' he said as I approached. " I 
took it for granted that you liked a horse, and as I always 
drive home from the office if the weather is fair, my man 
took the cars as soon as I took the reins. So I had to send 
for you, as I did not care to let a stranger hold them."" 

He nodded toward the horses as he sjooke, and when 
I had taken my seat beside him he continued: 

" They are as gentle as kittens to one who knows them, 
and might take kindly to another's ways; but I always like 
to drive my oM'n horses and have them handled by the 
same man. I am not a horseman in the usual sense of 
the word. I know a good animal — at least one that suits 
me — and, like all farm-raised boys, know how to manage 
one; but I am not a turfman, do not care about the track, 
and would rather bet on oil or stocks than on a race. 
Even that I do not like, strange as you may think it. I 
had to do it once, but now it is unsatisfactory. I like bet- 
ter to deal with products than with possibilities. That is 
trade — commerce in its true sense; this down on the Street 


here is gambling — gambling in its worst sense, where no 
cue knows wlio deals, or whether the cards are ' stocked ' 
or not. But I do like to drive about town, especially in 
crowded streets, where it seems that such a spider-web af- 
fair as this road-wagon would have no more chance to 
come out whole than a birch canoe in a battle of ironclads. 
Look there, now ! " 

The gloved wrist made a sudden turn and the wagon 
slid between two lumbering drays, just grazing the axle 
of one and quivering like a frightened thing as it sped from 
a blow from the huge spokes of another. So we threaded 
our way for nearly an hour through the rumbling, jost- 
ling mass that filled the great highway — now dodging a 
car, a dray, a cab, but always escaping from seemingly in- 
evitable destruction. Then we turned down a quiet 
street where the hoofs strokes were muffled by concrete 
pavement and the wagon rolled on as noiselessly as if its 
tires were cushioned, till we reached a stately mansion and 
alighted at the house of this man who was many times 
a millionaire. 

"1 had quite forgotten this," he said, pointing to 
a solid looking box that stood in the hall as we en- 
tered. "What do you think it is?" he asked with a 

Of course I could not guess. He sent a servant for a 
couple of men and directed them to place it on the land- 
ing of the third story. After they had passed out of hear- 


ing he said, as we entered a comfortable but somewhat or- 
nate reception room, 

" No, you would never guess what is in that box, and 
now that you are here I am sorry it was sent. You see 
this is my wife's birthday, though I am ashamed to say I 
had forgotten it until I saw the box. '* 

" I hope I do not intrude ? " I hastened to say. 

" Oh, not all," was his hearty response. "But you 
may think the little alfair that has been planned a matter 
of foolish ostentation, perhaps. But it is not — I assure you 
it is not. It is only a child's fancy. I like a good horse, 
it is true — as good as money can buy, and am glad to have 
the money to buy him ; but I would not give a cent more 
to see him go a second below the record. So, too, with a 
house, I like a good one — just as good as can be made. I 
didn^t make this — it is a little too showy for me. My 
house is in ths country. There is where I like to live and 
have my children live. But in country or city I have no 
use for a house made to look at or in competition with 
some one else's. I want it to live in — I want the maxi- 
mum degree of comfort Avith the minimum degree of show. 
In other words I want the best things and enjoy knowing 
that I have tbem but I do not care for display. 

"There is my watch now — just illustrates what I 
mean." He took from his pocket a plain silver watch us 
he spoke. " Why do you think I carry that ?" 

" Partly from whim, partly to prevent being robbed." 

378 EIGHT y-yiNE 

''Not a bad guess," he replied laughingly; ''but you 
are wrong in both suj^positions. I wanted a watch made 
according to my own notion. The jeweller said it would be 
difficult to put so muchmachinery in a gold case without mak- 
ing it too heavy. I told hini to put it in silver, then; I 
wanted it for use, not ornament. I suppose it is the most val- 
uable watch in the world, but you would hardly look at 
it in a pawnbroker's window." 

" Perhaps not, without your explanation," I said. 

" And I gave that to make way for another. As I 
told you, it is my wife's birthday, and I was at my wit's 
end to know what to get her for a present. I never know 
what to do in such a matter, especially for one who has 
everything, as of course my wife does; for all I have is hers, 
and more, too, if she wants it. I love my Avife and children, 
sir," he said, turning earnestly toward me. " All I have 
done has been for them, and I would throw it all away and 
begin over again if it would do them any good, or even 
give them any pleasure; but I can't buy presents. So I 
was glad when my youngest asked me if the children might 
have a novel sort of entertainment for their mother's birth- 
day — a queer sort of surprise party, in fact. "Well, that 
box contains the material. If you feel like ridiculing the 
performance by and by, don't let the children see your 
mirth, please. We are plain people, Mr. Owen, if we do 
happen to be rich; and I never expect to get over my old- 
fashigned notions." 


I shall never forget that birthda}' dinner in the home 
of this noted cento-millionaire. To speak of it as plain would 
be incorrect. It was abundant rather than sumjjtuous 
—a well-cooked, well-served, wholesome family dinner. 
The family including a bevy of children, the paternal and 
maternal grandmothers, a brother and sister with their con- 
sorts, a schoolmate of ^Ir. Stoningham's, the pastor of the 
church and his wife — this was the company. With these 
I was sandwiched in, through the forgetf illness of the 
master of this peculiar feast. It was a phase in 
high life that was new to me — an aristocracy not alto- 
gether devoted to eating and drinking, nor absorbed in 
what are usually termed "social duties." To my surprise 
I did not find myself at all de tro}). It was as informal a 
dinner as ever was served in a Southern gentleman's home 
and enjoyed with as hearty zest. There was abundant evi- 
dence of unbounded wealth, but no trace of efforts at dis- 

During it all I could not realize that outside was the 
glittering, lamp-lit city, and scarce a mile away the pur- 
lieus of that mighty mart through which the commerce of 



a nation flows — the heart of a continent's throbbing life ! 
The schoolmate, a grave earnest man — a professor, I think, 
in some western college, escorted the wife to dinner; the 
pastor took the paternal grandmother, and the host gave 
the place of honor at his side to Ids mother-in-law! It was 
my privilege to sit at his other hand. Much as I deplore 
the fact that men of such enormous wealth have been de- 
veloped by our civilization, I could but admit that here was 
one not given to ostentation or snobbishness. There was 
no hint of wealth, its woes or conveniences, except when 
the classmate made an allusion to some of the host's recent 
benefactions, which he characterized as princely. 

" Ah ! " said the wife, with a touch of sadness in her 
tone, " I am afraid we do not give as much as we ought. 
When we were first married William used to give one-tenth 
of his income, and really wo were very happy on the re- 
mainder, though it wasn't very large. But now wc have 
so much we do not think of giving nearly as liberally in 

She glanced half-reproachfully at her hnsband as she 

*'My dear,'' he said laughingly. *' It wouldn't do. 
People would claim I was going into the philanthropic 
business on borrowed capital — booming my profits — ' bull- 
ing my luck,' as they say on the street. Besides that, you 
know they would claim that my donations were but a mere 
conscience fund. Why, last year I gave a trifle — forty 


thousand, I think — to help a college out of debt, and when 
the fact was published, a witty fellow said, ' Why shouldn't 
he give forty thousand? He has stolen forty millions!' 
That's the thanks 1 get. You see, Doctor," (addressing 
the divine) "they think I'm robbing Peter, not to pay 
Paul, but to make him a present." 

"It is a hard thing," said the pastor gravely, "for a 
rich man to do his duty. I have often wished I had more 
of the world's goods, and perhaps as often have been 
glad I had not. I would not have your responsibility for 
the world, and I thank God that you carry it as unpreten- 
tiously and humbly as when thousands, rather than millions, 
not only measured your possessions but bounded your 

" William is always the same to those he loves,'' chimed 
in the mother-in-law. " I used to be afraid to have him 
grow rich, but I think the richer he has become the better 
he has grown." 

" Thank you, mother," said the great financier. " You 
see, its a gi'eat deal easier to be good — or good-natured, 
which amount to the same thing, in common ac- 
ceptance — when one has all he can reasonably wish without 
effort or sacrifice. I have had so much good fortune that I 
hardly know how to get along with it, and am constantly 
afraid I shall get the fidgets, as some men do, lest I 
should lose some of it. Of course I don't want to lose 
any of it, but I wouldn't mind giving half of it away. 


if I knew what to give it to ; or sharing it with those 
who have not enough, if I knew just how to get at them 
— who they are and where they are. But when anybody 
conies to claim it as a right, simply because I have more 
than they, then I am going to fight for it — and fight to 
the death, too. I got it lawfully and they would take it 
unlawfully. I won't be robbed nor will I be compelled 
to be generous. What I have to give I will give in my 
own time and in my own way, because it is mine. I 
don't care much for money — as long as I have enough, 
that is — but I do like the struggle of getting it and 
don't mind fighting to keep it. I'di not entitled to any 
credit for being kind to my friends, since it costs me 
nothing, and I suppose I do it for my own pleasure. 

'• I like the struggle for juofit, much, I suppose, as 
a gladiator would a fight. It is just standing up, giving 
and taking, but never squealing, I hate a man that 
squeals and enjoy a man that picks himself up and goes in 
for a fresh chance. I make no pretensions to merit except 
in two directions — no man ever knew me to betray a friend 
or turn my back on an enemy. I want my children to be 
brave and strong and honest, and I mean to set them an 
example they will not be ashamed of. Then if they have 
to begin where I did they can fight their OAvn way. I 
ilon't mean that they shall, but I should be ashamed of 
them if they tried and failed. 

"I don't think T am anv better than anv one else or 


any more entitled to good fortune. A poor man may be a 
great deal better and wiser than I. He may have cultivated 
virtue and devoted his energies to getting knowledge. 
That is all right. It is his and I do not want to take it 
from him. I set out to make money — not for the sake 
of money but because I like the struggle. What I have 
I w^on in a free fight and the man who thinks he can 
get it away from me is welcome to try it. That's fair; 
and that's all the good I lay claim to. Now and then, I 
give to somebody or something that needs help and may do 
more in that line, if I feel inclined; but it is not because I 
feel any sort of compunction for getting together what the 
law allows and in fact encourages me to acquire — for it is a 
fact that everything is in favor of the successful man in busi- 
ness. I can go in debt a million dollars and no one will ask 
for pay simply from fear of offending one who can pay. The 
law, society, everything, favors him who has money and 
cramps him who has not. After a man gets a fair start 
there is no limit to what he may do. Given a million 
dollars, and a man ought to be worth ten millions inside 
of ten years without much effort or half as much genius 
as is needed to enable one who has only a thousand to add 
as much more to his little pile. I am not any better than 
I was when I was poor, mother; I doubt if I am as good; 
but I am probably better natured, as I do not have to 
work so hard or to sacrifice at all." 

Such was the tone and substance of his conversation — 

384 EIGHTY, y IX E . 

modest, self -depreciating, charitable to others, in fact, what 
his countrymen would call sensible. To me all this was a 
revelation and a surprise. Never have I shared a family 
dinner in which the virtues of American domesticity 
were more perfectly illustrated than in this luxurious 
home of the prince of millionaires — the most daring and 
successful of those buccaneers of finance who are destined 
to be the nobility of the new civilization which is crys- 
talizing at the North. 


After the dinner there was a buzz of preparation. The 
children, big with the self-importance of a well-kept 
secret, flitted back and forth and from father to mother, 
from cousin to aunt, impatient for the exi^ected moment to 
arrive. It was a pretty scene— so pretty that I grew ashamed 
of the feeling I had entertained toward the tender-hearted 
man who had achieved so much for those he loved. I had 
wondered at his achievments hitherto; from that moment I 
respected his motives, after a certain fashion, and felt an 
honest pride in his marvelous cajjacity. He stood revealed 
to me a modern Midas with the virtues of the Puritan, 
a marvelous product of a wonderful era — how marvelous 
I was yet to learn. 

The father and mother withdrew with their children 
with pleasant apologies to prepare for the spectacle we 
were to witness. No wonder there was a look of pride in 
the mother's eye as she followed her husband with the 
pretty, clamorous group around her I 

We Avaited, loitering about the softly lighted rooms, 
chatting pleasantly and noting the luxurious surroundings. 
I had Just become absorbed in conversation with the pas- 



tor, a quiet, earnest inau, to wlioiu the task of ministering 
to such souls as composed his congregation seemed by no 
means to have lightened the sadness which the world's woe 
unfolds to men of his calling, when the door opened and 
a little maid, with flushed cheeks and beaming eyes, called 
to us: 

" Come quick ! Come and see I " 

We did not wait for a second invitation. I gave my 
arm to the most infirm of the grandparents and, with our 
impatient herald clinging to her other hand, we followed 
the little company to the spacious hall. Seats were pro- 
vided in the vestibule — itself a room of no mean propor- 
tions, modeled on the Roman atrium, whose brazen sides 
swung back and made a stage of the hall beyond. This 
had Ijeen transformed into a dungeon, dimly lighted. 
Bronze doors with ponderous locks, such as the ancient 
treasure-vaults disclose. We waited, charmed by the real- 
ism of the fair picture, while from the shaded stairway 
above a lisping voice began in childish verse the story of 
Danae in the dungeon of Argos, bemoaning the sad fate 
the oracle had decreed. One and another childish voice 
took up the pretty argument till the darkness above was ani- 
mate with the tender plaint. There was something very 
charming in the idea of utilizing the strophe and anti- 
strophe of the Greek drama in their childish sport and 
crowning their mother's birthday with a representation of 
an ancient myth which had already been enacted in her 

E I G II T Y - N I N E . 38 7 

life. I had been told that it was entirely the work of the 
children^ and as we listened in the dim light I wondered if a 
poet had indeed sprung from the loins of Croesus. While I 
mused the moment arrived for the coming of the god in 
the shower of gold. Suddenly a thousand electric lights 
flashed out, the host came striding from the door of the ele- 
vator at the other side of the hall and the laughing cherubs 
above sent down a shower of gold that fell like a sheet of 
\ellow light between the spectators and the dungeon doors. 
How the yellow coins shone in the glaring light as they fell 
upon the place prepared for the expected shower or rolled 
and settled on the marble floor ! The brazen doors flew 
open; the blinding light showed the prisoner sitting dazed 
and wondering on the rugged couch. The fetters fell from 
her limbs; the golden shower abated and the resplendent 
god led away his willing captive. The guests clapped their 
hands in approval. The childish voices burst into a con- 
fused chorus of laughter. Bright faces were for a moment 
visible over the balcony, then came the clatter of childish 
feet and the fable of Danae and Zeus had been enacted be- 
fore our eyes with a splendor probably never known before, 
save in the dissolute court of the French king. 

There were tears in the mother's eyes as she came 
towards us a moment afterwards. 

"I am sorry," she said, "it looks like ostentation. I 
knew nothing about this shower of gold. The children de- 
vised it to give me pleasure. Our eldest is named Perseus 


and is naturally attracted to this golden myth. My 
husband says we are to have the money for our win- 
ter charities. Will you help us to use it in that way, doc- 
tor ? It is to be put in tiie bank, and the children are to 
draw all the checks, hear all the cases presented, and de- 
cide how much shall be given to each. We want to teach 
them to do right. Will you help us ? " 

*' Indeed, I will, madam," said the divine, his voice 
choked with emotion, " and on behalf of the poor whose 
suffering this money will alleviate, I invoke God's blessing 
on your muniticeuce." 

"Not our's, doctor — not ours," said the simple-minded 
woman, clasping her hands in earnest denial. " It is not 
ours. We are only almoners of what God has given us but 
too abundantly. I do not know how we shall do our duty. 
I try to teach the children — perhaps they will be able to do 
better than we. You must not blame us," she added with 
tender pathos. -' We are like the poor man — who was it, 
sir ? — who found a diamond of priceless value and learned 
to love its glitter so well that he could not bring liimself to 
part with it, and so died — starved, with a king's ransom 
hidden in his rags. We wish to do right, but the care of 
what we have rests so heavily on my husband, and he is so 
good, that I dislike to trouble»him with my fancies." 

This woman's heart had not been seared with the 
molten drops, and the life from which she had sprung had 
not been effaced. She retired to remove the habit she had 


worn Just as her husband, ah-eady disarrayed, came for- 
ward to hear the commeuts of his guests. 

"Pardon me," he said, addressing himself to me last 
of all. I am afraid this has seemed to you very crude. 
The children proposed it, and as it was easy enough to 
gratify them, I did not refuse. Besides, Ave did not ex- 
pect any strangers." 

Barbaric as the spectacle had been, it had shown me a 
better side of the rich man's nature, and I replied truth- 
fully enough that I did not think the marvelous display 
would do the children any harm but rather good, as they 
would learn from the disbursement of the money that 
wealth was given not merely for their own gratification, 
but to relieve the needs of others. 

The gold was gathered into rouleaux which, after 
being counted with habitual care, were jDlaced in two can- 
vas bags, and our guest invited his classmate and myself 
to go down with him in the elevator and inspect the vault 
in which it was to be stored for the night. 

''Here we are," he said, flinging open an immense 
iron door, showing a vault as large as an ordinary room, 
brilliantly lighted by electricity. ''Here we are, thirty 
feet below the level of the sidewalk in probably the most 
thoroughly protected treasure-vault in the world. Water- 
proof, fire-proof and — " 

" Burglar- proof, I suppose," said his old friend, as he 

300 EI GUT Y - NINE. 

" I don't know about that/" was the reply. " I often 
wish it were not here. Yon see, the man whose shell I 
bought was not only a millionaire, but a scientist, and be- 
lieved in such things. 1 don't. To tell the truth, I am 
half afraid it will yet prove our undoing. I fear the ide:i 
may get out that immense treasures are concealed here, and 
men be temj)ted to secure them by violence. Wc hardly 
over keep anything of any great value here. Of course, 
our plate, some jewelry and other valuable articles 
used only on special occasions are stored here ; but 
nothing commensurate with its capacity. It never con- 
tains money, stocks or bonds to any considerable amount. 
The steward comes here when he chooses, and the under- 
steward when he is sent. Both have the combination 
and the keys except of a few small drawers. Both know 
there is nothing here worth the risk of a great crime 
and sure detection. Both think they know all its secrets; 
but, bless you, they do not know a quarter of them. Do 
you seee that grated column ? It connects with the street 
main, and by turning a handle in my room I can flood this 
vault in ten minutes. You observe that there is an open 
space between the outer and the inner door. By touching a 
knob in my bedroom I can drop another iron door into 
place, which can be raised only by hydrostatic means." 

"If it would suit you as well," said the classmate 
with a shudder, *' I believe I would as soon stand outside 
the door. Something might happen, you know." 


*'Otne minute/' said the host with a laugh, *'and we 
will all go. Here is one thing that is really interestiug, 
and I am inclined to put a good deal of confidence in it. 
If you will note the bars of this door you will observe that 
each passes, when it is closed, along the face of an im- 
mense soft magnet. When the coil is not attached these 
turn noiselessly and easily. Two fingers, you perceive, slide 
them all back and forth. Now by touching a knob inside 
the vault and turning another outside, a powerful current 
of electricity is sent through the coils and the bolts are as 
fast as if welded to the iron loops, so that the door cannot 
be opened until the circuit is broken, which can be done 
only by cutting the wires somewhere outside. I myself 
would have to telegraph to the dynamo station miles away 
to loose its grip. By another device any one entering the 
door of this room rings an electric bell both in my room 
and the nearest station house. I shall put these safety wards 
on to-night. The servants know that a large amount of coin 
is in the house and I should not be surprised if the butler or 
his assistant sought to make use of their privileges to turn 
an honest penny. In that case I think I will let down the 
door and perhaps turn on a little water. It may be well 
enough to let them know what they are fooling with." 

He quickly made the connections and we entered the 
elevator. His friend stopped at the parlor, while we went 
on up to the smoking room in a quaint Moorish tower that 
overlooked the lights of the city. He told me afterward 

392 SiGHTY-JSiyE. 

that he caught his man that night, but made no further 
explanation. Whether it was tlie butler or his assistant I 
do not know. 


"Well, here we are," said Stoningham when our 
cigars were well alight, "and now I am going to tell you 
frankly why I have sought your acquaintance and arranged 
this interview. I think we understand each other, and if 
we have not the same ideas, we have in part at least the 
same interests. You represent this curious Order, the 
Southern Cross. I don't mind saying to you that it has 
been a surprise to me. A year ago I should have pro- 
nounced it impossible that such a thing should ever have a 
beginning, let alone making such pi'ogress. I begin to 
understand it now. You want a separate government and 
mean to have it if you can get it." 

" If we can get it — peaceably," I corrected. 

"I understand — peaceably if you can, forcibly if you 

" By no means," I replied. " Peaceably or not at all. 
In other words, if we cannot convince the people of the 
North that they ought to let us go in peace, we will re- 

"Well," he said after a moment's thought, '^ it's a 
queer notion; but I am frank to confess I think you will 
succeed. That is why I wish to talk with you." 



" You do not mean to say that you are in favor of our 
success?" I asked with a smile of incredulity. 

" Well, yes and no — I am and I am not. As an 
American — a citizen — I would like to see the country as 
big as we can make it. 1 am fond of big things — great en- 
terprises and great nations. If I were an Englishman I 
should favor the "Jingo" policy. I think Disraeli was a 
greater man than Gladstone, I believe tlie best euro for 
the Irish trouble would be a foreign war — or would have 
been at the start. Abstractly, therefore, I ought to be op- 
posed to your notion of dismenibortnent. But there are 
other things to be considered here at the North, as well as at 
the South. You want to pry the Union apart because you 
have got the * nigger' and think you must deal with him 
in your own way." 

''Well, not thit alone," I began, ''there is — " 
'^Oh, I understand," he interrupted, "There is a 
lot of what you lawyers call 'feigned issues'; but this is 
the kernel of the matter. In other words, if there were 
no 'nigger' there would be no Southern Cross." 
"Well, no — I suppose not," I answered frankly, 
" Oh, I don't blame you, I suppose I should feel the 
same way in that latitude. It's a little hard to own it. 
My father was an Abolitionist, you know — one of the origi- 
nal ' Old Guard;' and such inherent notions die hard. He 
almost worshiped tlie slave; but I haven't found much to 
admire in a ' free nigger,' as you call them. But did you 


ever think, Mr. Oweu, that we've got somethiug worse 
than the ' nigger ' to deal with here at the North ? " 

" You mean the Labor Movement ? " I asked. 

''I mean this infernal notion that is spreading among 
the people of the North like rot in sheej), that one man 
has a right to another man's proiaerty. Sometimes tliey 
call it Socialism, sometimes Anarchy, and sometimes Labor 
Reform. It is all the same thing and always — Robbery. 
It is simply collaring the man who has been successful and 
making him 'divvy ' with the one who has been unsuccess- 
ful. That's what we've got to fight; and it's a fight for 
life. Now, we're on your side simply because your success 
helps us. See ? " 

I confessed my inability to do so. 

'•'You don't ? Well, there it is. You can see 
that ? " 

He took from the wall a map of the United States and 
threw it on the table before us. A heavy black line was 
drawn along the Southern border of the Northern States, 
running down to the Potomac. The District of Columbia 
was surrounded by a blue line. New York and Atlanta 
were designated as capitals. 

" There," said he, as his finger traced these bounda- 
ries. "You want that part. You claim it as yours — 
Southern territory you call it. From my standpoint, I 
think you are foolish. I think you had better stand the 
'nigger' and share our money. In a little over twenty 

396 EIOHl Y-NINE. 

years we have paid you in river and harbor improvements 
and consolation purses of one sort and another several 
hundred million dolhirs, jnst to induce you to forgive us for 
whipping you back into the Union. Now it seems to me 
that if I had as good a cow as that I should just hang on 
to her and keep milking. Why, the country would be 
perfectly willing to give you ten or twenty million dollars 
a year just to make your niggers a little more endurable — 
educate them, you know." 

*'But, my dear sir — " I began. 

" Oh, I know," he suid continuing his impetuous dis- 
course. " You have thought that all over and made up 
your minds. You don't want them educated, except in 
your own way, and you don't Avant tlie country to interfere 
with their condition at ail. Well, it's your own job; but 
to my mind, mighty poor business. If I didn't think yon 
were past changing, however, I wouldn't be talking to you 

" How 80," I asked. 

*' Well, you see, all this country is ours — Yankee- 
land. '' He passed his hand across the Northern region as he 
spoke. "Here Yankee notions abound, — Yankee ideas 
prevail. We are not as sentimental as you, but we are 
practical. Our Yankee idea of freedom is ' Every man for 
himself;' and in order that he may be encouraged to do 
his best, we assure him the possession and enjoyment of all 
he can get, and expect him to be content with what he can 


acquire, and not try to get what another has without earn- 
ing it or winning it in lawful trade. 

" What is the result ? Here are forty millions of peo- 
ple, owning twenty billion dollars of capital and paying 
tive hundred millions in taxes annually. The bonds of 
every one of these States are at par. Several of them are 
without a dollar of indebtedness. Every child lives within 
sight of a school-house, the door of which is open to his 
feet. Less than six in a hundred of the people are unable 
to read and write. Here are fifty thousand miles of rail- 
road worth six billions of dollars, and coal, iron and petro- 
leum enough to supply the world. More than two billions 
of dollars are invested in manufactures. Here are a hun- 
dred thousand miles of telegraph and half as many more 
of telephone wire. One-third of the world's surplus food 
comes and must come from this region. 

^' What does all this mean ? It means unbounded 
wealth, and consequently unbounded power. This belt 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific is the richest and most 
powerful region on the globe — if only the same common 
sense that produced these results is applied to their admin- 
istration. This prosperity is the product of brain and must 
be controlled by brain. Now, who own the brains ? Evi- 
dently the men who have the money. Brain power, under 
our system, is measured with unfailing accuracy by 
the figures in Bradstreet. A man may have knowledge, 
scientific attainment, technical skill j but unless he has 


money you may be sure he lacks grip — power, brain. We 
measure men by the value of their signatures on promises 
to pay, and it is the only true measure of power. Gov- 
ernment is nothing but business on a large scale — the 
most work for the least money. That is all there is of it. 
Sentiment has no place in it. Our people are pretty 
much a unit on that idea now, and capital controls our 
government, Just as it ought. We have twenty-three 
Senators worth over a million dollars each, and several 
Avorth from ten to fifty millions. A poor man now and then 
slips into Congress from these States, but the chances are 
that he is the mere attorney of some great interest, which 
he is chosen to protect from public encroachment. This 
accounts for our prosperity. AVe make politics a busi- 
ness and not a sentiment. 

" This was well enough until the new craze came up. 
NoAv the people are going wild over the idea of robbing the 
rich — directly or indirectly. We have temporized with the 
thing for years and it has grown worse and worse all the time. 
It is getting so that the men who do not pay a cent of taxes 
Avant to run the government; say how much our railroads 
shall charge for passengers and freight; fix the price of 
coal and iron and kerosene; the rate of wages and the 
hours of Avork — in short, run every man's business for him 
and tax him for any shortage that may result. The time 
has come Avhen Ave must stop this thing or be ruined, and 
Ave are going to stop it. We are all in the same boat, you 


see; every manufacturer, transporter and telegrapher, 
every holder of bonds and employer of labor. We have got 
to fight, and whip, too, or be wiped out and let Socialism 
or Anarchy prevail. So we have made a blind pool 
to see what can be done about it.'' 

"A what?" 

" A blind pool; that is, a group of men — I don't care 
to say how many — have agreed to stand by what I may de- 
termine upon as best thing to do. There are not many of 
them and yet not a pound of freight, nor a single passen- 
ger, nor an express parcel, nor a telegrajjli message, can 
get from the West to the East, or from the East to the West, 
without their leave." 

" But the Mississippi ? " I ventured. 

'' Oh, yes — the Mississippi ! The father of waters and 
hobby of fools ! It will do for you Southern sentiment- 
alists to prate about and for IS'orthern sentimentalists to 
squander money on. But let me tell you one thing: you 
may put a thousand dollars on every mile of its length, 
and then there is not force enough in any government on 
earth to drive trade down its current. Time is nionej^ now, 
and nobody can run a line that means months or weeks 
against one that means hours. I would not take the Mis- 
sissippi perfectly equipped as a gift, unless I had rice lands 
in the delta I wanted overflowed, or was sure of a big ap- 
propriation from the Government every year for levees. 
That is all the crooked old ditch is good for. As a traffic 


route it is as useless as Noah's ark would be for ocean 

" Now this ' pool ' will do just what I say. They ask no 
questions — don't want to know what I am doing or how I 
do it. They merely do what I require. We haven't any 
politics or sentiment. "We don't care wlio rules or pretends 
to rule. We are willing any party that chooses should have 
the administration. In one State we are Democrats, and 
in another Republicans. All we want is to control the 
men who are elected, so as to be sure that the solid men in 
this country — those who have made it what it is — shall 
govern it. This we are going to do anyhow; but I think 
you can make it easier for us and we can make your job 
easier for you. I am willing to admit frankly that we 
think separation would be a good thing for us. You have 
only a few things we shall ever want and those you will be 
glad enough to export. The laws of trade settle all that. 
Except in form, you would be just as much a part of the 
country as ever. Now if we had only the West to deal with 
we could settle all this labor matter in just thirty days. 
If the people knew just how weak they are in this fight 
with combined capital they would give it up at once, and 
then everything would go on peaceably and fairly as here- 
tofore. We only want a fair show — to live and let live. 

"Just as long as the South has more than half the 
power of government — more than half of a majority, you 
understand, and a majority is the government — we never 


know what we can do. You have your own notions, your 
own grievances and your own inveterate sentimentality. 
You do not divide along the same lines, reason from the 
same premises, or recognize the force of the same argu- 
ments as we of the North. You are as foreign to us intel- 
lectually as we are to Prussia or Italy. Now, you want to 
go out; we can help you if you will help us. What do you 

" What method do you propose ? " I asked, cautiously. 

" Oh, as peaceable as you wish. Capital rarely wants 
to fight, except to 'bear' a country's bonds sometimes. 
We don't care how you go, nor much about the terms. 
You cannot assume any of the debt, for your own debts 
are not worth quoting in the market." 

'* That's because the basis on which they were con- 
tracted was destroyed by emancipation," I exclaimed. 

" No matter; it's the fact. I think you might take the 
territory including Texas, we will say. leaving us all North 
of that and West of Missouri, the debt and the govern- 
ment. How would that do ? " 

"I should think that would be satisfactory," I said. 
"Quarrels generally arise over trifles, and I am not in 
favor of quibbling about details." 

''Good! that is the first business-like idea I have 
heard from your side yet. Now what is to be done ?" 

"A good deal," I answered incredulously. 

"In detail, yes," he replied, beginning to walk back 


and forth and knit his brow ; " but not so many things, 
after all. Let us see, Ave have to manage the Presi- 
dent, the Congress, the army and the navy." 

*' You forget the people," I suggested. 

" Bah ! " said he contemptuously. " The people ! 
Let me tell you, Mi-, Owen, if it was not for the name of 
the thing, ' the people,' as you call them, would be as glad 
to have you go as anybody. They are sick of the 'nigger', 
— sick of the South I It is only when the eagle squawks es- 
pecially loud that they think of the last twenty years with- 
out nausea. Besides that, tliese Labor fellows di'ead the 
' nigger ' as bad as you. Not that they are afraid of his 
color or care about his fragrance; the trouble with them 
is that he will work for a sixpence if he can't get a shilling, 
and can't be organized for a strike. 'The people,' Mr. 
Owen, can be managed. In fact, it is probable that two 
crises will coincide." 

"What do you mean?" 

" Well, you know, we are to elect a President 
pretty soon. The Labor party will have a candidate, of 
course. I do not know what will be his strength; but 
the probability is that a great strike will follow unless 
he is elected, which is not likely to be the result. That's 
what we are looking for. Now, if the people of the 
South are out of the way, we can manage them, and if 
such a thing happens they will be very glad to get rid 
of vou. too." 


'' I do no see how it is to be accomplished," I 
said doubtingly. 

He opened the door and peered out upon the landing 
before answering. Returning he sat down near me and 
said in a clear whisper : 

'• See here I We are to elect a President. Suppose 
the people do )iof elect ? " 

"Then the House of Representatives elects?" 

"By States ; yes." 

I started. The idea had never occurred to me before. 
He drew a paper from his pocket and pointed to a row of 

" Now that this Labor party is in the field, I can make 
it sure that the people will not elect. Thent as to the 
Senate and House, if you can manage the Southern mem- 
bers I can manage enough Northern ones to prevent a 
quorum in either branch. What will be the result ? " 

I confessed that I did not know. 

"^Well, I do. I have not only taken good legal advice 
upon the matter, but have looked it up myself. There 
will be no President — and nobody authorized to act in his 
place. The law provides for everything else — death, dis- 
ability, removal of both President and Vice-President^ but 
not for a failure to elect either." 

" And then ? " 1 asked, almost breathless with surprise 
at the possibility before us. 

"Then?" he echoed in astonishment. " Why then 


the Government will have no legal head, and if you 
Southerners cannot effect your purpose you have sadly de- 
generated since your fathers' days. Then the Union is 
dissolved, isn't it? No Executive, no government — that is 
the legal status. Who is to hinder you from making a 
new government to suit yourselves, while we patch up the 
old one to suit ourselves ? In whose name will any one in- 
terfere, and by what authority ? It seems to me to be 
exactly the opportunity you want. How does it strike 


'^How does it strike you ?'" These words Avere in my 
ears as I returned to my hotel — the old-fashioned down- 
town resort for Southern men at which I always staid. 
How did it strike me ? The plan struck me dumb — by its 
novelty, its simplicity, its audacity. Its feasibility was as 
apparent then as now. All that remained was the question 
of power to secure the results indicated. I had no doubt 
that the Southern Cross could make good its part of the 
bargain. From the knowledge Mr. Stoningham had given 
me I did not question liis ability to perform whatever he 
undertook. And if this were accomjolished — if the govern- 
ment were once deprived of a legitimate and recognized 
executive head — what might not happen afterwards ? The 
Order of the Southern Cross was pledged to peace — peace 
at any price and under all circumstances. So large an or- 
ganization of earnest non-combatants had never been heard 
of before. This was not because of any inclination to the 
doctrine of non-resistance on the part of our people, btit 
to a singular and abiding faith among all classes that by 
this method we could more certainly, readily and easily 

It was an admitted fact that only a thoroughly united 



fUid compacted North could overcome the South in opeu con- 
flict. It was doubted even whether this could be done again 
with the inducements that could be offered to the colored 
people to espouse the cause of the South. It was well- 
known that the tradition of Yankee kindness and consid- 
eration for the African had grown very weak among them. 
They had seen themselves abandoned in their hour of need. 
Their prayer for protection in their riglits had been un- 
heeded. Laws were passed indeed, but tlieir administra- 
tion was entrusted to the very men who had violated these 
rights. When they asked for bread they were given a stone! 
When they cried for knowledge they were referred to the 
will and pleasure of their old masters, who, nurtured under 
the conditions of Slavery, were doubly disinclined to edu- 
cate out of the poverty that remained to them those whom 
they thought to have been wrongly freed. However, they 
did something — much more than could have been expected 
— while the National Government did nothing. 

As a result the race was learning very fast that the 
whites of the South v/ere their real friends and the people 
of the North hardly less than their real enemies. If 
worst came to worst, we had no doubt that the race 
might be so thoroughly attached to our cause b}- judicious 
management that three-fourths of them would be in our 
favor, and once fully committed in our behalf we knew 
that no more faithful and devoted allies could be found. 
There was something absolutely heroic in the pathetic 


steadfastness with which they had continued to beheve 
in the sincerity of the North in the face of desertion, 
betrayal and contemptuous disregard, not only of promises 
written in blood and ratified by thousands of lives lost in 
the service of the boastful republic, but also of the rights, 
privileges and immunities the Nation had jarofessedto con- 
fer upon theui. 

Not only had we of the South this opinion, but 
throughout tlia North there was a feeling not only that al- 
liance with the negro was discreditable, but also that it 
was unprofitable, and profit and loss is the keystone of the 
Northern man's conscience. The Eepublicans not only 
felt a sort of sullen hostility to the negroes on account of 
the failure to maintain their supremacy at the South, but 
were beginning to allege that but for the discredit brought 
u2:)on the party through them, it would never have lost its 
supremacy at the North. Indeed, its leaders were by no 
means oblivious to the apparent fact that if the Soutli were 
really separated from the Union, they would have an over- 
whelming majority of what remained. 

From all these considerations I was satisfied that if 
the plan indicated could be carried out — the country left 
without a recognized official head and at the same time 
torn by conflictiug faction, — no attempt would be made to 
coerce the South against its will to accept the bonds it had 
so persistently and heroically endeavored to cast off. Al- 
ready I could see our object attained, the South free, 

408 EIG H T Y- NINE. 

united and prosperous beyond all previous conception I 
And for this plan so easy, so simple and so sure, we 
were indebted to another — a contemptuous enemy who 
threw it to us as a tub to the whale, in order to make sure 
of the success of a grand speculative venture! To him the 
aspiration of the South was a mere incident. 

'MVe are willing you should control your 'niggers,'" 
he had said. How hateful that common Southern term 
always seems in a Northern man's mouth! It is like hear- 
ing a man in ministerial garb profane the name of God, 
and I suppose springs from the same feeling. The Xorth 
profess to regard the negro as an equal, and " nigger '■ in 
the mouth of a Northern man sounds coarse, vulgar and 
self -degrading. The Southern man professes no such re- 
gard for his " Brother in Black," or even in black and tan; 
and the term in his mouth becomes only a cai'eless ex- 
pression of good-natured contempt. I felt this and won- 
dered at it when the term dropped from the lips of Mr. 

Yet the plan was his, not mine. I had been groping 
for years after what he had found in a moment. I felt 
ashamed. It is true, he had approached the subject from 
another direction and was as helpless without our assistance 
as we without his; but I regretted that for once the South 
must follow rather than lead. Yet there was no doubt 
that in this way lay our hope of success. His words 
were like lightning flashes illuminating the darkness 


in which 1 liad gi'oped so long in vain. It was clearly my 
duty noAv to cooperate with this strange ally and take ad- 
vantage of the discovery he had made and the scheme he 
had devised. 

After the luminous exposition he had given this did 
not seem a difficult task. There was no doubt that an 
election by the people could be prevented if the Republican 
candidate conld be defeated. To render this certain our 
new ally proposed that a " deal" should be made with the 
combined Labor and Prohibition elements to return Labor 
Electors in New York and New Jersey. This seemed 
feasible and in fact was easily arranged, as afterward ap- 
peared. In order both to induce the Labor party to carry 
out this bargain in good faith and more certainly to prevent 
the possibility of a popular election, they were promised 
also certain electoral votes from the South. As a result of 
these negotiations the difference between the electoral 
votes which the three candidates received was much less 
than any one not informed of the facts could have antici- 


This conversation quiie blotted from my mind for the 
time being the strange spectacle I had witnessed at the man- 
sion of the millionaire. 1 confess that this impression it 
produced upon me was not at all such as the descri^ition of 
this unique affair in the morning papers of tiie next day 
would have induced one to expect. It was neither brilliant 
nor imposing. Mere masses of minted gold are not partic- 
ularly attractive except to the miser's eye. It was coarse, 
garish, barbaric, — that was all. I would have said mon- 
strous, but the word has too harsh a meaning. There was 
nothing horrid about it, except the contemplation it pro- 
voked of the causes of which it was a consequence. 

I was given one of the coins and have kept it as a me- 
mento of that strange scene. It is still fastened by a silver 
link to the iron cross which is the symbol of our Order. 
They represent two contrasted civilizations, the one 
founded on sentiment and the other based on gz-eed. They 
term us "sentimentalists," because we esteem the man 
above iiis possessions, they call themselves " practical "be- 
cause a man's acquisitions are an accurate measure of the 
rank he holds m that society. The pinnacle of all their 
•' practical '' aspirations is the apex of a mighty pyramid of 


golden dollars. One man sits alone upon its summit. He 
it is whom they all envy. He is not a king, but he controls 
all beneath him — not by right but by power. A score or 
two stand just below him. Some thousands a little further 
down. Some millions have climbed up a little way 
and other millions, outnumbering them all, stand shiver- 
ing around the base, waiting for some little rill, some 
golden avalanch, to throw down those above and scatter 
some of the worshiped pelf within their reach. Their 
hope may not bo vain. The man at the top may lose his 
head, or be undermined by those below, and through the 
gap his downfall makes one at the very bottom may climb 
to the very top. So the struggle goes on and they boast- 
fully call it a civilization based on practical common sense 
and true liberty! 

To the ears of such a people I do not wonder that 
the story of such a lavish display should prove irresistibly 
attractive. The power to scatter coin, to make display 
of wealth which is also to make a display of power, — this is 
the " practical " ideal, a government, a civilization, a so- 
ciety based on business principles. The story was repeated 
in the sabbath-schools, the fact being dwelt upon with es- 
pecial unction that the surplus which had contributed to 
an hours amusement was thus withdrawn from the chan- 
nels of trade and consecrated to the relief of the poor. It 
was a golden text of charity, the logical conclusion from 
which was that every one should strive to be as rich as this 


man who liekl half a continent by the throat and compelled 
it to yield him millions in tribute while he scattered a few 
thousands among the poor whom his rapacity impoverished. 
To me the picture was terrible. I saw a man with a 
noble nature and transcendant powers, debased, belittled 
and cut off from all real sympathy with his fellows by his 
load of useless wealth. I saw a fond mother and devoted 
wife, with the instincts derived from a Puritan ancestry, 
greedy of good fruits from her children's lives and anxious 
that men should love and honor her husband rather than 
envy his wealth — I saw such a woman drawn by the chains 
of her love to take part in a garish display of golden 
gains. Her love and her ambition were satisfied. Hus- 
band and children were all she could desire from a domestic 
point of view, — but lier hope? Ah me! that was forever 
blasted. Tlie world would never know the wealth of man- 
hood hidden in her husband's lieart. To others he was 
but a Stylites on a pillar of gold. He would never reach 
their hearts, gain tlieir love or secui'e their devotimi. Be- 
fore the morning came his steward sought to rob him. His 
past had been gi^-en to gain and his future must be given 
to guarding his superfluity. Poor woman I I realized more 
clearly than ever the terrible weight that had rested on my 
Edith's life and thanked God that for a little time at least 
she found sanctuary in that sweet Southern land where in- 
satiate greed and envy of another's possessions are almost 


I esteemed this man, it is true, more highly after this 
than I had ever done before; but my dread of the class and 
tendency he represented was increased almost to positive 
terror. It is the most dangerous foe of Northern civilization 
and is all the more terrible becanse its representatives sin- 
cerely believe that they have a right to get all they can 
through impersonal agencies, and hold the same for their 
individual behoof without blame. 

This man was no doubt the soul of honor when acting 
for himself and in his own name. ■ I do not doubt that as a 
man he is not only just but equitable in his dealings with 
his fellows. As the head of the Eock Oil Trust, he would 
coolly execute a plan that would beggar a thousand or ten 
tiiousand at a stroke, and draw his share of the dividends 
without a remorseful twinge I 

Into the hands of such men the power of our sister 
republic is fast drifting, if they have net already secured 
full control of it. The conflict there is not, as so many short- 
sighted theorists have averred, between the capitalist and 
the mere laborer, but between the over-gorged capitalist and 
the great host of enterprising self-employers, whose hope is at 
the best to secure a modest competency. This class is rapidly 
disappearing and the alternative which the future pre- 
sents is in most cases that of servitude or supremacy. 
The percentage of those who work for wages at the North 
is daily increasing, while at the South it is constantly 
diminishing. The proportion of independent self-em- 



ployers at the Xurth is decreasing with amazing rapidity; 
while with us it is as rapidly increasing. The tendency 
there is towards feudalism based, not on courage 
or descent, but on accumulated wealth. With us the 
tendency is as yet towards simple comi)etency. The 
reign of exclusive privilege based on ISlavery has disap- 
peared. Competition is fast breaking up the old man- 
orial estates, and opportunity has not yet been great 
enough to establish the inile of the millionaire. We have 
a few. God grant tluit the number may never mcreasel 
Pauperism and undue accumulation go hand in hand. A 
people that raises millionaires by the hundred will always 
have paupers by the hundred thousand. We have very 
few of either; may their ratio never increase! 


There was the usual clamor and excitement — accusa- 
tion, defence and mutual malediction — attending the Pres- 
idential election of 1888. There were speeches and pa- 
rades, fireworks, banners and unprecedented display. 
Importers and traffickers shouted for free trade; manufact- 
urers, for tariff; workmen for shorter hours and more pay, 
and all for liberty and prosperity. Primaries were bought : 
conventions packed; parties organized; bets and predic- 
tions made. The North, as usual, had a host of parties 
and factions, each with its candidates. There were Ee- 
publicans and Democrats; Labor Reformers and Prohibi- 
tionists ; Woman's Rights, and — I know not how many 
more aspirants for favor and j)atronage. In the South 
there were Democratic and Independent electoral candi- 
dates only. How many of those who saw, or even were a 
part of this strange hurly-burly dreamed of the forces that 
lay beneath ? 

The Democrats were confident and the Republicans 
sanguine. The result surprised and confounded both. 
When the votes were counted at the close of the conflict 
it was found that no President or Vice-President had been 
elected ! The House of Representatives would have to 



choose a President and the Senate a Yice-Peesident! 
It was a result inexplicable upon any theory of 
party relations knownto the managers on eitlier side. The 
Republicans attributed their defeat to an unprecedented 
growth of the Labor movement in New York and New Jersey. 
The Democratic leaders, knowing of the deal in those States, 
assigned as the cause of their defeat an entirely unexpected 
development of the Labor sentiment in Kentucky and Texas. 
Neither charged the result to either of the forces actually 
responsible for it — the Monopolists' " Pool " and the Order 
of the Southern Cross. 

In the contest before the House, neither party was 
Avithout hope. The members had been elected two years 
before and both the House and the Senate were so evenly 
divided — the one by States and the other in Members — 
that almost any result was deemed possible except the one 
that actually occurred. Indeed, it was thought quite 
probable that a President of one party and a Vice-Pi'esi- 
dent from the other might be the outcome. That neither 
would be chosen was never dreamed of as a possibility. By 
some curious fatality this was the only contingency for 
which the Federal staf/ttes failed to provide. If neither 
President or Vice-President was chosen before the Fourth 
of March, there would be no one authorized to exercise 
authority or even to order an election ! The line of suc- 
cession would be broken without any established method of 
supplying the defect. 


The election of the chief executive ofiBcers by the Legis- 
lative branch ef the Federal Government was a function 
which had been so seldom exercised that its forms 
and limitations were matters of tradition rather than 
knowledge. JSTot a man was living who had taken part in 
such a proceeding. The wisest knew only what the dullest 
might learn in an hour. The House of Eepresentatives 
voting as States, was required to elect a President, a major- 
ity of the members present from each State controlling its 
vote. If they were equally divided, the State cast no vote. 
In other words, the Eepresentatives from each State consti- 
tuted an independent electoral college. It resulted from 
these curious conditions tliat a little more than one-fourth the 
Members of the House could elect a President, provided 
they were a majority in each of the smaller States, Avhile 
two-thirds might be unable to do so if they happened to 
represent only the lai-ger States. It required a majority of 
all the members present from each of twenty States to elect. 
If any State was unrepresented it still counted in the aggre- 
gate. A majority of members in each one of a majority of 
all the States was required to choose a President. In the 
Senate the process was simpler. Each Senator was entitled 
to one vote and a majority of the whole number of Sena- 
tors was all that was required to elect a Vice-President. 

These were the elements out of which the authorities 
of the Southern Cross and the ''pool " of combined Monopo- 
lists had to organize success— in other words, to secure bv 


lawful and peaceful means an absolute failure to elect 
either of the two highest executive officers of the nation. 
The problem seems intricate; but, as will be seen, the 
means by which it was solved were of the simplest charac- 
ter. Its apparent difficulty has given rise to the wildest 
and most absurd speculation in regard to the methods em- 
ployed in accomplishing this result. So far as they are 
known to me I shall relate them truly, both for the sake 
of my associates and for the instruction of the future. 


The idea is prevalent among the people of our sister 
republic that the then President of the United States and 
certain members of his cabinet were privy to our designs 
and lent themselves to their accomplishment for their own 
personal advantage. This rumor has brought upon these 
gentlemen undeserved odium. They were, of course, all 
aware of the existence of the Order of the Southern Cross, 
and the Southern members of the cabinet were entitled to 
wear its badge. Owing to the peculiar constitution of the 
Order, however, this did not imply any knowledge of its 

The President himself, like all the people of the 
North, no doubt looked upon our Order as a mere piece of 
Southern sentimentality, — a safety-valve, perhaps, for im- 
pulses which if unwisely restrained might prove dangerous. 
Certain it is, that until the memorable third day of March, 
when the absence of the Southern Eepresentatives made an 
election of President impossible, there Avas hardly a suspi- 
cion on the part of those uninformed of our designs, of any 
purpose to execute a coup d'etat. The President was indeed 
aware of the treaty made with the representatives of the 
Labor party, by which the Democratic vote in New York was 
given to men pledged to cast the electoral vote of that State 



for the Labor candidates ; in return for which the Labor 
vote in Indiana, Connecticut and Jsew Jersey was to be 
given to the Democratic electors. He supposed this ar- 
rangement, or " deal," as it would be termed in the politi- 
cal vernacular of the North, was intended simply to pre- 
vent the possibility of Kepublican success and make his 
own election a certainty, as it would no doubt have done, 
had not Texas and Kentucky chosen the Electors of the 
Labor party. The votes of our Order in the States named 
were given for the Labor party under the express advice 
and direction of the Grand Master, with the assent of the 
Supreme Council. This was done simply because it was 
judged expedient for our purpose that the President should 
not be re-elected, and ought of itself to be a sufficient an- 
swer to the charge of privity with our designs. 

These things were a great surprise to tlie people of the 
whole country, tlie President included. Even when he saw 
the that result was to throw the election into the House 
of Eepresentatives he did not perceive our purpose. In 
sixteen States the majority of Eepresentatives was Dem- 
ocratic ; two were evenly divided ; in two others the gain 
of one man in each would result in a tie ; while enough 
Representatives from two more were absent, to neutral- 
ize the vote of the State. The President, who had 
a curious belief in iris own good fortune, did not 
doubt that the ultimate result of this state of affairs 
would be the choice of himself as his own successor. 


There were three candidates who had received electoral 
votes ; and from these it was not doubted by any except 
the few who were privy to our phxns, that a selection 
would be made during the twenty-one days intervening 
between the second Wednesday of February, when the 
Joint Convention was held to count the electoral votes, 
and the Fourth of March, when the new Presidential 
term would begin. It was generally supposed, also, that in 
case of a failure to elect either a President or a Vice-Pres- 
ident, the Secretary of State would perform the duties of 
the office until another election could be held, though as 
afterward appeared, this was u matter of mere impression 
rather than of logical conclusion. This fact served to hold 
the Democrats firm, and the President believed that, rather 
than see the office fall to the Secretary by a questionable 
construction, enough Eepublicans would come to him 
to secure his election. 

In this belief, so far as I am aware, he never wavered 
until the morning of the third of March arrived and the 
houses of Congress met to find the Senate without a quo- 
rum of memuers, and the House without a quorum of States. 
This condition of affairs continued throughout the day. ]S"o 
effort sufficed to discover the hiding place of the recusant 
members. At midnight the Secretary of State took the 
oath of office as President before a Judge of the Supreme 
Court of the District of Columbia, the Chief Justice of 
the United States declining to perform the ceremony lest 

422 ^i(^ H T Y- N 1 NE. 

the act should disqualify him from sitting in judgment 
upon the legality of the succession. At twelve o'clock on 
the Fourth of March the recent Secretary issued his in- 
augural address, setting forth the circumstances attending 
his assumption of the functions of the Chief Magistrate jjro 
tempore, and calling the Congress to meet in extra session 
at an early day. This state of affairs produced considerable 
uneasiness throughout the North. The Secretary evidently 
did not feel secure in his seat and the nation he bestrode 
naturally felt restive under his assumed guidance. 

Until the appearance of this proclamation the ex- 
President did not seem to realize that his official life was 
ended. Indeed it appeared almost impossible, even then, 
for him to comprehend the completeness of his downfall. 
From being the head of a great nation he had suddenly 
fallen below even his original insignificance. The fact that 
the nation was passing tlirough a crisis which must be 
perilous and might be fatal, hardly seemed to affect his con- 
sciousness. Once satisfied that he had nothing more to hope 
for in connection with the presidential office, he seemed to 
think only of getting himself and his belongings away from 
the seat of his transitory greatness. 

To his successor's offer of a reasonable time to remove 
his effects from the White House, he vouchsafed only a 
most ungracious response. Despite the self -absorption 
which blinded him to all thought of his country's danger, 
there was a sullen independence about his unexpected 


leave-taking which commanded a sort of respect. It is 
safe to say that in no measure connected with his adminis- 
tration did he manifest so much vigor or more genuine 
executive ability as in his hasty preparations for removal. 

His faithful private secretary had taken the precaution 
the day before to draw the last quarter of his patron's 
salary and deposit it in bank. Summoned by the 
irate ex-Magistrate to give an account of his stewardship 
of the privy purse, he was able at a moment's notice to 
state the amount on hand and the outstanding obligations. 
In short, sullen sentences he was directed to liquidate these 
and make instant preparation for the removal of certain 
personal effects and the sale of others. This done, the 
tireless agent, only half realizing his master's downfall, 
took the train for New York. As the sun went down, the 
recent master of the White House followed a dray-load of 
trunks to the railway station. His personal staff had disap- 
peared, dismissed almost without thanks. The servants of 
the White House witnessed his departure with ill-concealed 
anxiety respecting their own future. 

As he drove through the streets of the capital his at- 
tention was concentrated upon the van on which his bag- 
gage was piled. He seemed as unconscious of the fact that 
the significant portion of his life had closed as he had been 
of its beginning. As the carriage rolled unattended down 
the avenue, he seemed as impassive as when, four years be- 
fore, he sat in the Senate Chamber waiting for the cere- 


monies of his inauguration to begin. Never a personal 
favorite with the peojile, but few of those who recognized 
him and compreliended what was taking place, followed 
the carriage with kindly looks or sorrowful farewell. Many 
sneered, some liissed. and a few gave vent to taunts which 
must have reached his ears ; but he gave no sign of having 
heard. At the train a little crowd collected for a last cu- 
rious glance. He attended himself to the checking of his 
trunks, but waved no farewell and showed no conscious- 
ness that his exit from the stage where he had played a 
curious and by no means unimportant part was a 
matter of any moment to others. I'he next morning, i 
am told, he left the faithful secretary, to whom he owed 
whatever of success he had enjoyed, standing hat in 
hand upon the wind-swept wharf, hardly nodding to him a 
careless adieu as he sailed with his family and personal be- 
longings for a foreign shore. Since that time he has en- 
joyed in placid ease and undisturbed obscurity the baths of 
Homburg, that favorite resort of dethroned royalty, whose 
waters seem to have an especial attraction for victims of 
political disaster. 

His departure, — it was in no sense a flight, — was per- 
haps unfortunate for his renown. For that, however, he 
cared little. He enjoyed preferment simply because it 
added to his personal consequence. He delighted to be 
President merely because it gave him an individual import- 
ance that no one else could enjoy at the same time. He 


liked the Chief Magistracy witliout any thought of doing 
honor to the position or making his incumbency notable by 
great events. His idea of government was a purely personal 
one. He thought of everything connected with it as his. 
He spoke of his office, his cabinet, his administration, and 
even designated the Executive mansion as '• the President's 

Taking him all in all, he was perhaps the most singu- 
lar combination of attributes that was ever elevated to the 
headship of any government. Personally, he had so few 
friends that they might almost be counted on the lingers ; 
and even for these he had no perceptible attachment after 
they ceased to be contributory to his personal comfort and 
aggrandizement. Politically, he seems to have been the re- 
sult of a series of accidents to which he bore neither intellect- 
ually nor morally any causative relation. To the very last his 
political views were so ill-defined as to be a matter of con- 
jecture even to his adherents, except on one subject on 
which he seems to have been driven merely by the hope of 
securing his own re-election, to express an opinion so un- 
mistakable as to be afterwards a source of unmitigated 
regret. If induced by any to make a positive 
delaration the first breath of public clamor drove him at 
once to denial or explanation. This was true of every 
public expression which he used except that animosity for 
the Federal soldier. In this he never wavered. To seem 
positive and to he indefinite was his idea of political sa- 


giicity. He seemed to regiird the courteous acknowledge- 
ment of favor as somehow an impeachment of his own 
super-excellence. To him who flattered his personal vanity 
he gave freely ; for him who asked on the score of personal 
merit he had only sullen refusal. He loved himself 
so well that he hated every one who intimated tliat he had 
ever received or ever might require assistance. 

He is not, however, in any sense deserving of the 
anathemas which the people of the North have visited 
upon him since the close of his term. The simple fact is 
that he did not regard the failure to re-elect him as a law- 
ful end of his oflBcial career. To him it is a dethronement, 
— a forced abdication. He deems himself to have been un- 
justly deprived of a personal right, and left the country he 
could no longer rule simply to show the indignation which 
he felt. 

It is a curious infatuation, but I am all the more sat- 
isfied that it is real, because I personally know that the 
generally received hypothesis in regard to his motives is 
false. The truth is that he laid claim to but one essential 
merit — honesty. Even this was not of a particularly exal- 
ted character. The boast of his adherents — he had not 
many real admirers — was that he would do what he thought 
to be right unless overpersuaded, misled or in some manner 
deflected from the path of duty by external influence. 
From first to last, this was the excuse assigned for all his 
acts Avhich resulted tmfavorably to the public interest or 


failed to satisfy his party's exi^ectution. This sort of hon- 
esty, whioh seems to be of the commonest and cheapest 
tyi>e, both he and his supporters vaunted with the utmost 
persistency, and it was accepted by many of his political op- 
ponents as indicative of exceptional qualities ; so that the 
country presented the curious, spectacle of men assailing the 
acts of the administration and at the same time excusing and 
defending its responsible head with the utmost fervor. The 
people of the Xorth are extravagantly fond of subtle distinc- 

Perhaps nothing could better show the very low ebb 
which public morality had reached at the Xorth, than the 
fact that even such common rectitude as this was applauded 
as exceptional, until the object of adulation undoubtedly 
thought himself a man of phenomenal if not unpreceden- 
ted integrity. There can be no question that he came at 
length to regard himself as the most notably honest, if not 
the only entirely honest man who had served the nation as 
its chief executive since the days of the immortal Washing- 
ton. Laboring as he did under this curious delusion, it is 
absurd to think that he directly enriched himself at the pub- 
lic expense to the value of a single farthing. Certainly he was 
neither bribed nor trusted by the Grand Council of the 
Southern Cross — not that we would have hesitated to resort 
to bribery, had it been necessary; since it is as fair to buy an 
enemy as to overpower him, esjiecially one so unscrupulous in 
the use of mercenary influences as ours — but there was no 


need to do so, since his cooperation was not required and 
his opposition not feared. 

That sucli a man sliould have become the chief magis- 
trate of a great nation, is in itself a most amazing fact. It 
could never have occurred had not the Northern people pos- 
sessed the most singular characteristics. Instead of be- 
ing proud of their great men they seem to grow jealous 
of notable achievement. They are always on the lookout, 
too, for the exceptional and marvelous. A people of the 
liveliest imaginat-ion, they clothed silence with the golden 
garb of wisdom and filled vacancy with amazing possibility. 
Inertness was accounted merely the absence of dangerous 
ambition ; lack of aspiration the confidence of conscious 
greatness ; uncertainty and obscurity the cloud in which 
wisdom hid grand designs. Strange as it may seem^ 
Mr. Cleveland had risen from the most obscure estate to 
the very highest Avitliout having been known to express an 
opinion upon any public question, llis adherents pointed 
to this fact as evidence of remarkble sagacity, and not only 
the people but Mr. Cleveland bimself accepted tbis curious 
conclusion. The fact that he liad not been great, or wise or 
brave, was regarded as conclusive evidence that he would be. 

Pernaps the most singular of all the phases of 
his anomalous career, was the fact that it is even 
yet unknown on whicli side his sympathies were during the 
great War for Separation. He was then a young man and 
would luiturally be expected to have positive convictions 


one way or the other. So far as disclosed by the most 
heated personal canvass ever witnessed, however, no one 
ever knew him to express, either orally or in writing, any 
opinion as to the merits of the controversy during the 
entire four years of conflict between the Confederate States 
and the Union. His adherents attributed this to sagacious 
reticence ; his opponents to cowardice and stolidity. 
Both were in error. He simply had no thought that 
the result would ever affect his personal interests and 
so did not trouble himself to form an 02:)iuion or have any 
preference in the matter. Except to furnish a substitute 
when '^conscripted,"* he is not known to have had any 
relation whatever to the war waged against the Confed- 
eracy. This naturally made him acceptable to the South, 
though no man of such colorless neutrality could have been 
chosen to any position of honor within her limits. 

It was no doubt to this peculiarity that the most dis- 
tinctive feature of Mr. Cleveland's administration was due. 
He seemed to entertain a personal animosity against those 
who had been soldiers of the Federal army, especially the 

*I am aware that the use of this word is cited by Mr. Mat- 
thew Arnold, as evidence of a lack of culture on the part of Gen. 
Grant. As, however, it appears in the manuscript of Grand Mas- 
ter Owen, has been used by the entire press and people of the 
South since the passage of the first conscription act, early in 1862, 
and was sanctioned by the official usage of the Confederate gov- 
ernment, its officers and generals without exception, I am satis- 
fied to err with them and allow it to remain. 


volunteers wlio returned after its close to civil life. It is 
probable that he considered their patriotic devotion an ex- 
press imputation upon his own lack of interest in the great 
struggle. The one fixed principle of his political conduct 
seemed to be a conviction that the people of the Xorth had 
had enough of soldiers and were tired of patriotism. He 
seemed to think that the surest way to public favor lay in 
treating those who had sav.ed the country from disruption 
as vagabonds, who, having no longer any public enemy to 
plunder, had turned upon the nation. As if to emphasize 
the fact of personal antipathy to this particular class, he 
approved a service pension to the survivors of the Mexican 
war, two thirds of whom were residents of the South, while 
preventing even the decrepid and impoverished veterans 
who resisted the demands of the Confederacy, from receiv- 
ing like favor. 

In this estimate of N^orthern sentiment he was not en- 
tirely at fault. Many of the most prominent of his politi- 
cal opponents applauded his course in this respect. Indeed 
the one man among them all who never hesitated to pro- 
claim himself the type of perfect purity and his peculiar 
notion^ the ultima thulc of wisdom — the head and front of 
a singular company of self-worshiping apostles of me- 
chanical merit — did not hesitate to proclaim him almost, 
if not quite the grandest character that Xation had ever 
produced. It is true, this man believed that all merit was 
assessable at a fixed valuation and that patriotism might 


be accurately gauged upou a graded scale of excellence. 
He was the leader of those who in order to accomplish one 
good purpose, were willing to debase the sentiment of a 
whole people — who sought to make the dollar mark not 
only the symbol of value but the sole measure of merit — 
who would root out of the popular mind the sentiment of 
gratitude and honor, degrade the soldier to the level of the 
pauper and subordinate every national impulse to a mere 
economical test. It is not so strange that this man should 
have worshiped the President. There was a sort of affinity 
between them and he was incapable of seeing any fault in 
one who extolled the idea of which he thought himself the 
originator and which he devoutly believed was destined to 
secure an ideally perfect government, from which human 
impulse should be eradicated and under which human 
sentiment subordinated to intellectual merit scientifically 
ascertained and marked with unerring accuracy by an 
infallible system. The really curious thing was that such 
a man as the last President of the great Eepublic should be 
accepted as the type of the best Northern thought and that 
a people who had been ready to tarn and rend any one who 
proposed the least reduction of the capitalist's demands, 
should look with such contemptuous scorn upon a soldiery 
whose claim to consideration was blood, shed in successful 
defence of the national life, rather than a debased currency 
thriftily exchanged for a promise wrung by terror from the 
nation's lips. It is but another evidence that the true hero, 


according to the Northern standard, is the successful specu- 
lator rather than the self-forgetful patriot. The Federal 
soldier fought for half the price of a farm laborer and took 
his pay in depreciated money ; the Northern capitalist paid 
for his bond in a debased currency and demanded pay in 
gold. Yet the former was regarded as an ungrate- 
ful pauper and the latter as the type of the worthy pa- 

It was no doubt a subtle appreciation of this fact that 
induced the President to indulge his own personal pique 
by such bitter and repeated denunciation of the survivors 
as '' willing dupes of reckless demagogues." that if the 
Republican party had been wise enough to oppose to him 
a candidate whose record was of a less questionable charac- 
ter for courage and devotion than his own, it might perhaps 
have been impossible to have prevented their success. 
A mere economic issue is a poor reliance for any party. 
Sentiment cannot at once be frozen out of a people's 
nature and if the Republicans had dared trust to the 
impulses which first gave them power — the universal 
instinct of Justice and equality — it is doubtful if any 
influence could have prevailed against them. In 
nothing was the Divinefavor more distinctly manifested to 
our cause than in the singular blindness which hid from 
them their great opportunitv. So complete, however, is 
the moral debasement of the people of the North that her 
political leaders devoutly believe that success in any par- 


ticular conflict is but a question of dollars and cents. 
Skill in organization, chicane and money are the ar- 
guments in which they place confidence, and this is the 
only logic in which their leaders excel. 

For myself, I must say I pitied the ex-President far 
more for what he was than for what he lost. If the time 
ever comes when the people of the Southern Republic pre- 
fer such negative merit to positive excellence in a :hief 
magistrate, I trust that his administration may be as fatal 
to our new nationality as was his to the Federal Union. 
Such a preference indicates a decadence of public 
spirit and patriotic ardor far more fatal to a country's 
glory than revolution, war or subjugation. It is no doubt 
to this lesion of patriotic impulse at the North that we of 
the South are indebted for the success of our attempt to 
secure autonom}'. 

The influences that controlled this singular man were 
of a very peculiar character. Not only did he entertain 
the belief that he really determined the policy of his 
administration, but he managed to produce upon the 
general public and even upon many prominent men of 
his own party the impression that he was a man of great 
firmness and exceptional devotion to the welfare of the 
country. This resulted mainly from his oft-repeated pro- 
testations of absolute purity of purpose and invincible de- 
termination to do the right in spite of the malign and 
hostik ^"nfluences by which he persisted in declaring that he 


was constantly surrounded. His errors were always labori- 
ously excused, either as the unauthorized acts of subordi- 
nates the results of accident or a want of knowledge of par- 
ticular facts. With the legislative branch of the government 
he was constantly at war, and he did not hesitate to impeach 
the intelligence and sincerity of all who failed to recognize 
his pre-eminence. He rarely opened his mouth or touched 
his pen except to protest his own purity, excuse his shortcom- 
ings or impugn the motives of others. Whoever opposed 
his views or failed to laud his conduct he counted a 
personal enemy. Compared with the course pursued by 
his own party towards his predecessors, he was treated with 
distinguished consideration by his opponents in Congress, 
yet he never failed to manifest the utmost malignity and re- 
sentment towards his opponents in the legislative branch of 
the government. His veto messages cnitnumbered those 
written by all of his predecessors. In this fact he took es- 
pecial pride, supposing it would be regarded as infallible 
proof not only of.his superiority but also of the corrupt and 
venal character of his opponents. 

In point of fact, no man was ever more easily con- 
trolled. Of his Cabinet he made the most prominent member, 
a man who had committed the serious offencs of being an as- 
pirant for the place which he had himself secured, the scape- 
goat of his most serious errors. There were two forces which 
dominated almost without exertion the whole tenor of his, 
admiaistration — the great Petroleum ]\[onopoly, represented 


by one whose entire political significance was due to his in- 
timate relations with more than one of its managers, and the 
South, represented by one of the most remarkable men of 
any age — one of the few men who, without incurring per- 
sonal peril,had become distinguished as a Confederate leader, 
and afterwards had made himself indispensable to 
the nominal head of his party in the re-established rejiub- 
lic. The former influenced his chief by assuming that the 
President would sanction whatever he did. lie neither 
asked nor argued. If a matter required the formal sanction 
of his superior, he merely prepai'ed the papers and in- 
formed the President that his signature was necessary. 
He did not trouble the great man with details or theories, 
nor ask any instructions, but took the management of his 
Department off the shoulders of the President as a mat- 
ter of favor and relief to that supposedly overworked 
official. The latter was a man who despised the emblems 
of authority but loved the exercise of j^ower. He was the 
real head of the government. He swayed the man who 
thought himself his master by subtle and unfailing knowl- 
edge of his character. Everything he did or intimated Avas in 
the President's name. He .s?/^/^^^^^^? decisions, excuses, and 
protests. Between him and the representative of the great 
Monopoly there was never any difference. He smiled at the 
other's arrogant assumption, knowing well that he, too, was 
"but the servant of a master whose power he did not compre- 
hend. It was a notable fact that the President never at- 


tributed any of the errors for which he was responsible to 
either of these men. Few suspected the power of the most 
potent, and it ma}' be doubted if the President himself 
knew by whose will his acts were really guided. 

Of course, the presence of these men in the Cabinet 
was of great assistance to us, but we made no dishonorable 
use of our advantage. By this means we were able to fore- 
stall the action of the government, but except in minor mat- 
ters, such as the disposition of the army and navy at the 
crisis of our c02(p, such action was never intended to pro- 
mote our cause. Even in those instances it was not so in- 
tended by the President and I doubt if more than one of 
his advisers realized the possible effect of the course they 


Though we owed the suggestion of our first step 
towards peaceful separation to the head of the Combined 
Monopolists, we are indebted for the plan by which the ad- 
vantage thus secured was made effective, to that remarka- 
ble man who had been the real brain and conscience of the 
self-expatriated President. It was worthy of his ability 
and audacity, yet in its elements so simple that it seemed 
strange it should not have occurred to any one, especially 
after the hint received from Mr. Stoningham. It was 
carried into effect by inducing the Southern members of 
the incoming Congress to refrain from qualifying and the 
Southern Senators to absent themselves from the delibera- 
tions of that body. This so changed the political com- 
plexion of the two assemblages that it became necessary for 
some of the Northern Democratic members to do likewise 
and by this means prevent a quorum lest the Republicans 
should secure control of both Houses. As the recalcitrant 
members had never qualified they could not be brought in 
by the mandate of the House, nor could the minority pro- 
ceed to notify the Governors of the various States that va- 
cancies existed in the several districts thereof. In fact, 
there were no vacancies — only the men elected and certified 

did not see fit to qualify and act. This was a state of things 



which no existing legishition was adequate to meet and of 
course no remedy could then be provided M-ithout a quorum 
in each house. No one had ever dreamed of this weak spot in 
the Federal armor unless it were the masterly intellect which 
first made its impress in the judicial annals of the country 
by the magnificent array of authorities and unanswerable 
logic of " Ex Parte Garland." 

Before the consternation resulting from a knowledge 
that the national government was in a state of susj^tended 
animation, without recognized executive head or any 
legally constituted legislative department had died away at 
the North, it was renewed — perhaps I ought to say re- 
doubled — by the resignation of the Southern members of 
the Cabinet upon the ground that the government 
had lapsed by reason of the failure to elect a successor to 
the President and the lack of any person legally authorized 
to exercise his duties ad interim. They felt compelled, 
they said, to protest against the usurpation by the late 
Secretary of State, of the functions of the Chief Execu- 
tive, lest their further silence should be construed to imply 
concurrence therein. They also held that a contempora- 
neous failure of Executive and Legislative authority 
acted as an effectual dissolution of the Federal Union, 
its powers lapsing eo instanti to the several constituent 
republics from which they were originally derived. This 
being the case, as individual citizens of sovereign States, 
once more clothed with autonomv by the failure of the 


Federal pact, and not iiaviug been authorized by their re- 
spective States to do anything tending to j)reserve even the 
form of a National Government, they felt bound to with- 
draw all connection with or constructive recognition of a 
spurious and usurpative organization. This document was 
addressed '* To the People of the States of" — naming first 
the original thirteen States of the old Union and then the 
others in the order of their admission — but not referring in 
any manner to the ''United States,"' as a political integer. 
Upon the ajjpearance of this document, the people of 
the North took alarm and offers of military and other sup- 
port came pouring in upon the self-constituted President 
pro tempore, who had acted in the utmost good faith and 
no doubt desired both to perpetuate the Union and promote 
the welfare of all the States. He was not only weak and 
vain but, what was far more prejudicial to his purposes, 
vacillating in the extreme. He had little confidence in 
others and less in himself. Besides that, he had long 
doubted the possibility of peri^etuating the Federal Union 
for any considerable period, believing a constitutional mon- 
archy modelled on that of Great Britain, to be not only es- 
sential to national stability but also preferable as a political 
organization. These sentiments he intimated in an ad- 
dress to " The People of the United States," which he pro- 
mulgated as a counterblast to that of the withdrawing 
officials. This doctrine which was emphatically concurred 
in by the de facto head of the Navy, raised a storm of angry 


deiiimciation at the Xorth and dcstro3'ed the hist vestige of 
respect for these pseudo representatives of national au- 

The Governors of several of the Northern States at 
once assembled at Harrisburg, renns3dvania, and organized 
themselves into a voluntary Council of Public Safety, 
alleging an intent on the part of the South to renew 
the attempt at forcible disruption of the Union. 
This was answered by the prompt assembling of the 
governors of all the Southern States at liichmond, Virginia. 
They indignantly denied the aspersions cast u2)on the 
patriotism and loyalty of the people of the South, and, 
while alfirming their own concurrence in the views ex- 
pressed by the members of the Cabinet who had recently 
withdrawn, they declared their determination to supjoress 
by the most vigorous means any attempt on the jiart of any 
organized body to prevent the reorganization of the Federal 
Union. They even went so far as to say that if any 
number of the States of the North should seek by concur- 
rent action to exercise the powers that lately inhered in the 
Federal Union, they might be assured that the people of 
the South would quietly, if not cheerfully, submit thereto, 
though they were confident that no true son of the South 
would ever hold office or exercise any political function 
under or by virtue of such authority. This proclamation 
was addressed to the people of the various States — naming 
them — and was followed at once by the resignation of 


every Federal officer at the South, saving and exceiHing 
some few Judges of the Federal courts — an insignificant 
remainder of the days of " carpet-baggers " and " scalla- 
wags." These resignations were all on the same form, ad- 
dressed to the people of the several states, and duplicates 
were forwarded to the respective Departments at Washing- 
ton, as well as to the Governors of states in which the officials 
resided. The mails were still carried throughout the South, 
but no reports were made to any so-called Federal official. 
The Federal courts were not held in these States because 
they were without ministerial officers. The world moved 
on, but the wheels of the Federal machinery had stopped 
throughout the South and moved but sluggishly and uncer- 
tainly at the North. 

Whether the doctrine enunciated by the shrewd and 
capable ex-minister was correct in theory or not, may be 
hard to determine. Why the doctrine of a de facto excc- 
ecutive should not apply as well to a Secretary of State 
improperly usurping the functions of the Executive, as 
to a President unlawfully holding over, I have never been 
able to determine. I am inclined to think that the Avhole 
doctrine depends in the main ujion the capacity of the de 
facto Executive to rule and govern. At all events, there 
was soon manifested on every hand an inclination to con- 
cur in the idea that the collective sovereignty had lapsed 
by non-user, and that the union was thereby resolved into 
its original elements. The minorities of the two houses 


of Congress continued to meet from day to day but did 
nothing ; indeed tliey could do nothing. For a time there 
were signs of bitterness on the part of the press and people 
of the North. This gradually subsided before the pacific, 
non-resistent policy of the South. Conventions of the jjeo- 
ple were called in all the States. In the Northern States 
*' to consider the state of the Union;'" in the Southern States 
** to consider matters of the liighest importance to the peo- 
ple of the State.'' 

No sooner had these various bodies met than it be- 
came apparent that the revolution was practically accom- 
plished. The States of the North recognized thf3 impos- 
sibility of compelling an unwilling people numbering more 
than twenty millions to cooperate in a government they had 
openly renounced but resolutely declined to oppose. They 
knew, too, that it would be impossible to govern them by 
force of arms. The shameful experience of the "Recon- 
struction '' period came up before them with mocking vivid- 
ness. There were some, indeed, who clamored about 
"Liberty and Union, one and inseparable," l)ut they were 
ridiculed as sentimental enthusiasts. What the people of the 
North desired, it was soon learned, was some jiractical meas- 
ure by which the confusion and expense of war might be 
avoided, the payment of the public debt be secured and they 
be permitted to resume and continue undisturbed their 
gainful avocations. There were a few hot-headed fanatics 
whose sectional hate even the lapse of time could not appease, 

klOHTT-NINE. 443 

who still shrieked for freedom and raved about the rights 
of the negro. Taken as a whole, however, the people of 
the North were well typified by Burnside's soldiers in the 
crater before Petersburg, who shot down the negro com- 
rades who fled for shelter to the yawning chusm where 
they lay hid rather than face the consequences of being 
captured in their company. 

This has, indeed, been the tenor of the whole political 
relation of the Xortli to the negro. They were desir- 
ous enough to use him, to stop bullets or cast ballots: 
and were willing to recompense him with anything which 
cost neither money nor manhood . When it became necessary 
to expend either care or cash in his behalf, however, they 
became at once blind to his need and deaf to his entreaty. 
The sneer of one Southern white man outweighed with them 
the welfare and the woe of a thousand negroes. The South has 
much to regret and much to amend in her dealings with 
the colored man. The problem of the co-existence of the 
races has always been one of diiSculty, even of danger ; but 
she has no such record of hypocrisy, betrayal and cowardly 
desertion as the people of the North have been accustomed 
to regard with boastful complaisance. To this record 
they now added what from their standpoint must be re- 
garded as a crowning infamy. They abandoned the negro 
to those whom they had steadily averred for three-quarters 
of a century were his implacable enemies. 

The Northern State conventions were practically 


as unanimousas those of the South. They recommended 
an Advisory Committee of two from each State to meet 
a like delegation from each of the Southern States, 
to devise, if possible, a basis of future organic union. The 
Soutliern conventions responded by designating a like 
number of delegates, to meet them and ''arrange, if 
possible, for peaceful separation and harmonious confeder- 
ation." Of course, much more was said and done during 
this interval of uncertainity. Many things occurred which 
to the public mind seemed of more importance than those 
which I have noted. If I were writing a romantic nar- 
rative I should dwell on other and more exciting phases of 
the great struggle waged by peaceful methods under the 
unspotted banner of the Order of the Southern Cross ! 


. The great strike whicli was expected in the summer 
of 1888 did not take place. To the surprise of all, the 
railroads and telegraph lines voluntarily increased the pay 
and reduced the hours of nearly all their employes. They 
also acceded to the request which the associated laborers 
had hardly dared to insist on, that every employe 
charged with misconduct should be entitled to have the 
facts judicially determined by arbitrators before being dis- 
charged. This unexpected favor transformed hundreds of 
thousands of men in their employ from discontented slaves 
into loyal henchmen. 

This with other things so stimulated the political 
hopes of the leaders of the labor movement that they judged 
it wiser to avoid any conflict. The season, itself, follow- 
ing two years of drouth, was one of almost unprecedented 
fertility. The country had never been so prosperous, had 
never seemed so peaceful and had never appeared more 
likely to continue undisturbed for an indefinite time. 

In the midst of this profusion and apparent peace, the 
astounding increase of the vote of the Labor party fell 
like a bomb among those who were predicting an indefinite 
continuance of existing conditions. It was evident that 
neither concession nor prosperity had served to mitigate its 



demands. While it had only succeeded in choosing its 
Electors in a few States, in almost all the others it had dis- 
played an unexpected strength, not only securing a very 
respectable minority in the Legislatures of all the North- 
ern States, but had so demoralized its competitors as to 
be able to dictate legislation. Many who had been chosen 
as representatives of the old parties, indeed, went wholly 
over to the new organization. Flushed with this unex- 
pected success they renewed the warfare on capital and 
nuiny very stringent laws were proposed, and in some 
instances enacted, in restriction of what were deemed the 
immutable rights of capital. 

This conflict served to divert the attention of the 
North from the gravity of the National crisis arising from 
the non-election of President and Vice-President. Indeed, 
the i3eople of the North had so thoroughly cow viuced them- 
selves by constant iteration that there could never again 
arise any serious question of a sectional character, espe- 
cially with the South, that I doubt if any revelation of our 
design would have been credited by them. To find the 
Federal government acephalous as to its executive branch 
and absolutely Avithout legislative existence, surprised and 
astounded them but awakened very little resentment. The 
unanimity with which our people refused to take any 
part m re-establishing the wrecked nationality annoyed and 
discouraged them bat did not awaken any general feeling 
of anger. They were too absorbed in their own affairs 


to pay much attention to the whimsicalities of a people 
whose motives they could not understand. 

The Commission appointed by the Conventions of the 
various ]N"orthern and Southern States to arrange a basis of 
re-union — or if that should be impossible, to agree upon 
terms of separation — met, as every one knows, at Louisville, 
Kentucky, on the Fourth of July. I had the honor of be- 
ing chosen as its President by a unanimous vote, and I 
have reason to believe that at the conclusion of its labors 
not a single member would have changed the ballot he cast 
in my favor. The confidence thus reposed in me is 
the proudest recollection of my public life. That 
my own countrymen should trust me after what had been 
accomplished would hardly be accounted a matter of sur- 
prise; but that strangers knowing well my sentiments should 
without solicitation offer me the post of honor, may 
well be counted a matter of excusable self-gratulation. 

The work of the Commission was from the first pecu- 
liarly harmonious. It contained men of all shades of oi^in- 
ion but its members were of the highest character 
and many of them of world-wide reputation. For patriotism, 
learning and ability it was probably unsurpassed by any 
body of men ever assembled on the continent. It consisted 
of two men from each State, and it really seemed as if every 
State had endeavored to select its wisest and best for this 
last common council of the States which had for a century 
composed one nation. Some came to beg for union, others 


to protest against restraint. But almost from the first, it 
Avas ajjpareut that persuasion ■would be vain and protest 

In the discussion of the subject of union or separation, 
I noticed a curious fact. The North and the South 
seemed to have changed places. The representatives of a 
"practical" civilization and " a government based on busi- 
ness principles " had only sentimental considerations to of- 
fer for the continuance of the Union; while the representa- 
tives of the " sentimental " South dealt wholly in practical 
arguments, in the little they had to say upon the subject. 

Our Northern brethren were the chief speech-makers. 
They seemed to admit that separation was a foregone con- 
clusion if the South persisted in its demands. The histor- 
ical appeal of Mr. Evarts in behalf of the traditional 
Union was especially affecting to the older members 
of the Commission, going back as it did to colonial times, 
Avith which he seemed much more conversant than with re- 
cent affairs. Mr. George William Curtis made a brilliant 
and erudite argument upon the benefits which might be ex- 
pected to result from the English Civil Service which he had 
recently been instrumental in borrowing for American use. 
Many of our Southern delegates were much intei'ested in 
his finely rounded periods and graceful delivery. The doc- 
trine did not seem to have been calculated for this merid- 
ian, however, and so produced little impression. Mr. Kelley, 
of Pennsylvania, delivered a long speech in a basso pro- 


fundo worthy of tlie gravity of the subject, upon the bene- 
ficent results of "Protection for American labor." The elo- 
quent Senator from Indiana appealed to the patriotic im- 
pulses of the South and portrayed the especial need wliich 
the new Northwest created, for the restraining influences of 
Southern conservatism to prevent the Northern peo^^le 
from drifting into anarchy. Other touching and eloquent 
appeals were made by the Northern members, begging the 
South to remain in the TJiiion for the sake of their various 

All these speeches were answered by the brief remarks 
of the most practical and sagacious of the Southern 
delegates. He said he had listened with interest to all 
that had been said and was willing to admit both the 
premises and conclusions of every argument that had been 
made. He could understand the need and advantage of the 
old Union or its equivalent — to the North. What he wanted 
to hear, if anybody had such a thing to offer, was an argu- 
ment showing what advantage such a Union would or could 
be — to the South. The only thing of this sort attempted 
was to show that the North paid a larger share of the ex- 
penses of the Federal Government, which was triumphantly 
refuted by demonstrating that it had also consumed a 
greater proportion of the revenue and derived far greater 
benefits and advantages from its existence. After this 
it became apparent to all that our only task was to ar- 
range terms of separation as equitable and satisfactoi-y 


m possible to both sections and all interests. The re- 
sult of our action is well known. Its wisdom time alone 
can avouch. 

During the session of this body, I was frequently struck 
with the contrast between the motives prof essed by different 
individuals and the forces which 1 knew to be at work com- 
pelling them to the conclusions on which they acted. While 
there was a suppressed anxiety to get rid of the South ap- 
parent in the readiness with which the Northern memberg 
abandoned their opi^ositiou after the most eloquent protests, 
there was not the most remote allusion to the advantages 
which either wing of Northern thought expected to gain 
by neutralizing an uncertain factor in national affairs. 

When our labors Avere nearly comj)leted, the plan 
which had been agreed upon, and the address which was to 
accompany it having been referred to the committee for 
final revision, I was surprised one evening * by a 
request from Mr. Stoningham that I would accompany 
him that night in his private car to Indianapolis, returning 
in time for tlie morning session. He requested me not 
to mention the matter to any one, but merely meet him at 
the station which he would see that I reached again in am- 
ple time for the next day's duties. 

*The the word "evening " is here used in the usual Southern 
sense, meaning afternoon. 


It was on this occasion that I M^as first informed of 
that master-stroke by which combined capital established 
its absolute control of the Northern republic — a con- 
trol which is the basis of a new Feudalism whose power it 
will require generations if not centuries to break. I found 
Mr. Stoniugham standing on the steps of one of those mir- 
acles of luxury, the private car of a railroad magnate — a 
mansion on wheels in which one might at that time travel fifty 
thousand miles without crossing a national boundary and 
almost without passing twice over the same mile of road. 
He nodded to an employe as he grasped my hand. The 
signal was given and the train which had just backed into 
the station steamed out again, and before we had reached 
the other side of the river, we were busily engaged in dis- 
posing of an abundant dinner which was M^aiting to be 

We were the sole occupants of the car, except a stenog- 
rapher and electrician who occupied a forward compart- 
ment containing a complete telegraphic outfit. Every 
now and then as we j^assed a station the clerk would come 
in with a bundle of dispatches to which my host would dic- 
tate answers almost without interrupting our conversation. 
Twice we ran upon a side-track for a train to pass, and 


45-2 EIGHTY. nine: 

while we waited the wires were tapped and his messages 
sent without leaving the car. 

** Well/' said Mr. Stuuingham, after the dinner was 
over and we were alone with our cigars, ^'how goes the 

I told him briefly the state of affairs. 

" Grood ! " said he, sharply. *' You think they will 
not be ready to adjourn for three or four days ? " 

*' Three, I should say at least," I answered. 

•* You could make it four I suppose?" 

" Probably, if there is any special need." 

" Exactly. Well, I can soon show you that it is a 
necessity. During the few months that the Government 
has been dragging along without a head and minus a tail, 
-things have been developing pretty rapidly and we — the 
capitalists I mean — have made up our minds that we miglit 
as well have the whole matter over with at once. Have you 
any idea what I am out this way for ? " 

" Xot in the least, unless you take an interest in what 
we are doing." 

"■ Not a particle, as I told you once before, except as 
it bears on our business relations and conditions here at the 
North. I think you can help us and we can help you, and 
both get what we want. Tliat is the reason we are pull- 
ing together. I think we can make sure of the acceptance 
of the report your Commission will make by all the North- 
ern States, and you can help us to settle our affairs inoui^ 


own way if yon will ouly let me manage the matter on this 
side the line according to my own notions." 

" But why do you wish the adjournment de- 
layed ?" 

" Simply in order to let the members understand what 
is before them." 

'* You do not intend any violence ? " 

" Nothing more than making them walk home ! " he 
answered with a laugh. 

'* I do not understand you." 

*' Probably not, and yet we have given fair warning. 
We had a man in Congress — one of the most prominent 
members, too, cheek by jowl with a man who came near be- 
ing President — who blurted the whole thing out four or 
five years ago. I don't know how he came to get hold of 
it. Of course it has been talked of on the sly for a good 
while, but everybody knew he could't keep his mouth shut, 
so I wonder he was ever allowed to hear of it. 

" It is just this. You know the war that has been 
made on capital by the political kleptomaniacs of the North 
for the last few years. Railroads, telegraphs, telephones, 
and in fact all corporate and combined capital has been the 
object of the bitterest attack. They insist that while laborers 
have a right to organize and strike, capitalists have no right 
to combine for their own advantage. Of course this is simply 
absurd. If Labor has a right to organize — and we do not 
deny it — so has Capital. ' What is sauce for the goose if. 


sauce for the gander/ you see. Tliat is fair — always was 
fair and always must be fair. If it is lawful for me to carry 
on any business, it is equally lawful for me to associate 
others with me and form a partnership ; or still others and 
form a corporation; or to combine everybody in the business 
and form a " Trust," giving each one his share. Of course 
it squeezes out the small fry, but it makes things cheaper 
and prevents trouble with employes and the like. When 
all businesses — or all that are susceptible of it — are man- 
aged in this way there will be no more strikes. 
Can't be, you see. Every man will know he has got to 
keep the place he has or be out of a job. There won't be any 
need of black-listing them, either, for all will be employed 
by the same concern and nobody can bUime a man for not 
employing a man he has once turned off. 

" Well, these Western and Xorth western States have 
gone wild over the matter, especially since the election. 
They ' want the earth ' and swear they are going to have it 
too. So they have been legislating in every way to destroy 
business. We thouglit of getting up a panic last year, 
with some hope of securing for President'a man we could 
manage and who had sense enough to do our work. That was 
before I saw you, Cleveland would have done well enough, 
but he could think of nothing but himself and had a fac- 
ulty for putting his foot in things that we could not trust. 
The deal we made with you worked well enough, only it 
inflated the Labor-thieves at the North and demoralized 


everybody else. They have done nothing but legislate 
against " Trusts " and corporations and capitalists ever 

" We have stood it just as long as we can and have 
finally determined to precipitate a crisis and have it over 
along with your affair. We increased our Protective Pool 
several months ago to five. I am still the head of it, but I 
needed help. I am not familiar enough with the details of 
railroading, telegraphiug, etc., to attend to all these things 
myself. Oil and natural gas I know all about. So a son 
of the great telegraph king, and a rej)resentative of the 
railroad, coal and iron interests as well as a representative 
of all combined interests, was put on to assist me. We 
" forked up the rhino," — enough to insure success — and put 
it in the bank of England, where it will be safe and nobody 
can touch it, — and began to got ready. 

" What did we do ? Well, we gave every business that 
was of any importance the wink — that is, we said nothing but 
advised that certain things be done. It don't take much to 
give a business man a hint. As a result all our banks have 
the bulk of their specie stored abroad; supplies of all kinds 
are well distributed and there are no great stocks of anything 
in transit. We have looked out for these matters carefully, 
for we do not want to occasion any suffering or loss that 
can be avoided. Now everything is ready and in three 
days we shall strike the first blow. 

" What are we going to do ? I'll tell you in a word. 


We are going to stop every car-wheel, silence every tele- 
graph instrument, wreck every gas-plant and disable every 
pipe-line in the North." 

" What I " I exclaimed in amazement. You do not 
mean to paralyze every business in the country ? " 

*•' That is just what we mean to do. At midnight three 
days hence every train west of the Mississippi will stop run- 
ning, every sounder stop acting and every electric and gas- 
light stop shining. The next day the same will hapi)en 
in the territory west of Pittsburg and north of the Ohio and 
east of the Mississippi. On the third the ocean cables will 
be cut and the Avhistles give their last toot from Pittsburg to 
the eastern point of Maine. Communication will be kept open 
with the South a day or two longer. Then you will also be 
cut off, but not disabled unless it becomes necessary." 

" But it is terrible I " I exclaimed. " Do you realize 
that almost the life of two-thirds of the people depends on 
these very agencies ? '* 

''Eealizeit ?" he said with a laugh. "You bet we 
do. AVe know what these things cost, 3'ou know. What we 
want is to have other people realize it. Suffer ? Of course 
they'll suffer. Why shouldn't they ? We are only acting in 
self-defence. They are trying to rob us and we want them to 
know what they are doing ; that is all. These are our cars, 
our tracks, our wires, our pipe-lines and our plants, aren't 
they? We built them, bought them, made them, didn't 
we ? If we choose to take up every rail, burn every crosstie. 

EI&HTY-NINE. 45,7. 

wreck every car, cut every wire, smash every still and plug 
every well, whose business is it? The State might take back 
the right of way, and of course we can't destroy the grading. 
But it would require years of loss and labor and bankrupt 
every State just to replace what we have a right to take away 

''The fact is, we have made this country. Our enter- 
prise and our money have given it prosperity. Take out 
only the things I have mentioned and the value of the coun- 
try would be reduced fifty per cent, at least. What would 
a farm along this line be worth without the railroad ? 
AVhat would all the farms in the West be worth without 
railroads ? What is tlie good of raising corn if you have 
to burn it ? What would cattle and hogs be worth with 
only a home market ? Take away the railroads for ninety 
days and two-thirds of the business men and even farmers 
would be bankrupt. Let them see it — let them feel it 
once and, my word for it, they will learn a little sense. 
The fact is it is too late for them to kick. We have got 
them by the wrist and mean to hold on. Capital is intan- 
gible and immortal. They may kill me and all those Avith 
me — not a great many at best — but our power will remain, 
our rights, our privileges, our possessions. The day of 
heroics and sentimentalism is gone by. The sword and the 
pen are well enough for certain stages of progress, but this 
is the epoch of hard cash. The power is in the hands of 
those who have the money and there it will remain. 

" We have not only made the country but we pretty 


nearly own it. I do not mean the land — that is the paper 
title to it. We don't want that; but its products, its re- 
sults, we hold. 

" Practically there are but two classes of men — those 
who employ and those who serve. Both liave their rights. 
The one has the right to have his money's worth of work 
and tlie other to fair wages. The farmer or other producer 
must pay for getting his wares to market. The law of sup- 
ply and demand is the only law that governs or can govern 
these relations. The capitalist has a right to hire whom 
he pleases to do his work, at the lowest price the service is 
obtainable ; the laborer has a right to sell his labor for the 
highest price he can get, and, if the farmer thinks the rail- 
road charges extortionate, he can take his wheat to market 
on an ox-cart in the good old wa}^ if he wants to. This is 
my idea of political economy — simple, fair, free. That is 
all we ask." 

" But," said I recovering a little from my amazement 
" are you not afraid of provoking a popular uprising that 
will destroy the properties you thus abandon ?" 

" Of course," he answered with a shrug, '*we take 
some risks, and must necessarily suffer loss. That is al- 
ways the way in ])usiness. If we win, we shall soon make 
up the loss. That is the beauty of our position. If we 
fail — but we shall not. This is no matter of a moment. 
I tell you we are prepared. Would you like to know how 
we have guarded ourselves ? I don't mind telling you some 


of the things. "We have been slackening up freight 
and traffic for a month and gathering our rolling 
stock at a few central points. Here it will be guarded, 
preserved by our employes^ — every engine being first dis- 
abled by the removal of a vital part which will be in every 
case destroyed. In like manner the machinery in our 
shops will be destroyed so that we ourselves could not put 
the roads in operation again without considerable expense 
and some months of delay. We are going to make thor- 
ough work^ you see." 

"But your employes, do you think they will stand by 
you ? " 

''Not a doubt of it. We have made sure of 
the conductors and engineers, through their associations. 
They know we are going to stand by them and they will 
stand by us. Our trainmen, agents, ojjerators and 
the like, have been fixed in the same way. Everyone has 
received a month's j)ay in advance with the promise of the 
party employing, indoi'sed by me, of full pay during any 
stoppage of business that may result,,if they remain faith- 
ful to our interests. They know me, you see, and no man, 
friend or foe, ever doubted my Avord. They know they 
will get their pay and bold their places if they stand by us, 
and they will do it. 

"At every important point we shall leave a man in 
charge with power and means. He will defend the larop- 
erty entrusted to his care at all hazards. The trainmen 


and other dependents will assist. They have arms in 
abundance — Winchesters and Gatlings. If likely to be 
overpowered they will burn everything and leave the rob- 
bers only ashes as a reward for their acts of plunder. This 
is practically an army of half a million of mercenaries who 
will fight for us because their daily bread depends on our 
success. Behind them is tiie army of bankers and brokers 
and speculators of all sorts; warehousemen and jobbers; 
lawyers and politicians — all, in fact, whose livelihood or 
chance of profit depends on the maintenance of existing 
methods and conditions. It's a big job, but we've taken 
the contract and are going to see it through. And we 
shall win tool Mark my words : the revolution is already 
effected. Power has passed from the hands of the many 
into the hands of the few. Henceforth it will not be senti- 
ment that will rule this country but sense — not votes but 
dollars. We are going to do our work so thoroughly that 
it will not need to be done over again for a century at 

The train was speeding on through the darkness. I 
raised the curtain and looked out. The lights in the vil- 
lages and farmhouses twinkled as we went by. I wondered 
what the people in them would think and feel and do, 
when the crash came and they found themselves cut off 
from that daily intercourse with the Avorld which civiliza- 
tion has brought to all. 

The stenographer entered and I heard my companion 


dictating messages as quietly as if he were not preparing, 
even then, to initiate the most astounding revolution the 
world has ever known. The wheels rolled smoothly over 
the steel rails. The throb of the engine pulsed along the 
train. The white telegrajDh poles flew by like silent spec- 
ters while their wires quivered and sighed as if the messages 
they bore were freighted with the woe of human sadness. 

I turned and looked at my companion. There was not 
a trace of discomposure about him. More than ever the 
simplicity, boldness and directness of his character im- 
pressed me. 

"Well/' said he with a smile, ''do you think you can 
keep the Commission from adjourning ? " 

"I think/' was my reply, "that the independence of 
the South would be secured by such a course and will see 
that it remains in session four days longer." 

" Good," said he extending his hand. " I thought 
you would see the point. Now if you will excuse me I will 
say good night. I must catch a little sleep before I get to 
Indianapolis. You will find a car waiting to take you back to 
Louisville, at the next station. Make yourself comfortable." 

He drew a curtain that hung before a recess, threw 
himself upon a couch and in a moment was asleep. 
I stepped across the car, looked out and saw Tyclio Brahe's 
star blazing and flashing above the Western horizon. I 
wondered if its appearance presaged the down-fall of 
another empire. 


More than a year before negotiations had been begun 
by the Mormons of Utah for the sale of their lands in that 
territory, to the Government of the United States, on con- 
dition that the whole Ijody of the Saints should migrate 
somev/here beyond the limits of the Republic. This prop- 
osition exactly suited the mercantile instincts of the 
Northern people. For forty years the Mormons had been 
a fruitful source of discord and expense. The process of 
''stamping out " which had been so boastfully declared 
and so frequently attempted had simply resulted in the 
firmer establishment of the Church of the Latter Day 
Saints and its altogether remarkable increase. It numbered 
at this time a quarter of a million of souls, organized with 
singular thoroughness, owning practically all of Utah that 
was of any value, and making steadfast encroachments on 
the neighboring territories. 

It was regarded as a matter of undeniably good j^olicy 
that the government sliould take back all the unimproved 
lands purchased from it, at the original price, and allow 
for improvements according to the appraisal of commis- 
sioners. This included about nine-tenths of the arable 
land of the territory, which it was thought would furnish an 
excellent opportunity for testing the agrarian schemes of 

EIGHT r-XIXE. 463 

some of the socialistic reformers, by leasing the lands thus 
acquired to actual occupants, thereby illustrating the prac 
tieality and beneficence of State ownership of the soil. 

To this experiment there was practically no opposition. 
All parties were glad to get rid of the Mormons, and the 
costly task of eradicating a development inconsistent with 
civilization but which apparently could not be eliminated 
without a rigor which was abhorrent to all Northern meth- 
ods of dealing with evil and at an expense which the 
Northern economist regarded with horror. To buy was 
one thing; to expend money in repressing evil or protecting 
right was quite another. The North had terribly begrudged 
the thousands that had been expended in governing Mor- 
mondom, but were enough glad to contribute the millions 
required to buy it, the simple fact being that they have an 
instinct for traffic but no fitness whatever for government 
except that of the shop-keeping variety. 

In an incredibly short time the details were arranged. 
The United States was as desirous for its early consumma- 
tion as the Mormons themselves, the administration being 
anxious to utilize in the Presidential campaign, tlie fact 
of the removal and the final settlement of the ^Mormon 

The Republic of Mexico had long been apprehensive 
of aggression on the part of the United States, especially 
along her western border. To prevent this the govern- 
ment jjranted to the authorities of the Mormon chur<'h 


the right to occupy and control the two western j^rovinces 
as a quasi-independent nationality, on condition that they 
should satisfy the just demands of such jJrivate landowners 
as might wish to remove, pay the same rate of taxation as 
the rest of the Kepublic and defend the frontier from 
invasion. This plan had been secretly on foot ever since 
the death of the prophet, Brigham Young, and the ]\Ior- 
mons had already secured by optional purchase a large pai-t 
part of the land in these provinces. 

Early in the fall of 1888, the migration to the new- 
Land of Promise began. It was a curious thing to happen 
in our ivestern world but one which manv had longr antici- 
pated. The uprooting of a quarter of a million people and 
the transfer of their flocks and herds to a new habitat ex- 
cited much comment and apprehension. Scarcely had the 
march begun when hostilities broke out. The passage of 
such a cavalcade througli a pastoral region where cat- 
tle and sheej) were the chief possession of the peo})le, was 
of itself almost as bad as the curse of locusts. The govern- 
ment had guaranteed tliem safe conduct and the little "skel- 
eton " army of the United States was nearly all employed 
in securing it. Despite all that could be done, however, tlie 
three Mormon columns soon became predatory hordes. 
Many Indians joined with them and the people of all the 
mountain region were thrown into a fever of excitement and 
apprehension by their progress through the intervening 
States and territoi-ies. 


At the begiiming of the year 1889 the Mormons had 
reached their new domain and the erection of a new Tem- 
ple had been begun. No sooner hud they taken jDossession 
of the region thns acquired, however, than the filibustering 
spirit which had been smouldering along the Mexican bor- 
der for some years, fanned by the excitement resulting 
from the dej^redations of the resentful sectaries along their 
line of march, burst into a flame. By the utmost exertion, 
through the loyal efforts of the Knights of the Southern 
Cross, it was prevented from showing itself to any great 
extent along the Texan frontier. In New Mexico and Cal- 
ifornia, however, the border soon assumed the character of 
a camp, and an army of invasion was mustered in an in- 
credibly short time, composed of the wildest and most des- 
perate spirits of all the western and northwestern region. 
Among the wealthiest men in the Mexican Republic 
was a certain Hermoso de Orilla, whose mines were accounted 
the richest in the State of Chihuahua, if not, indeed, in all 
Mexico. He was a foreigner and reputed to be an Ameri- 
can by birth though he had shown himself especially 
hostile to everything like American aggression, and it 
was chiefly through his influence that the concessions 
granted to American capitalists had been hampered with 
conditions removing them entirely from the domain of 
international arbitrament. The Mexicans were not slow 
to repel the threatened invasion, and the army which 
they stationed along the bcrder with its well-armed and re- 


vengeful Mormon auxiliaries, constituted a force by no 
means despicable. For forty years Mexico had been burn- 
ing to avenge the ravishment from her control of the un- 
told wealth of California, New Mexico and Nevada. 
This act of unblushing international robbery her people 
had never forgiven, and every year's total of the output of 
their mines and the product of their industries only added 
to the Mexican's hate and his desire for reprisal. De Orilla 
was known to be a man of prudence and sagacity as well 
as wealth, passionately devoted to Mexican interests and 
was understood to have displayed in his earlier days mil- 
itary talents of an unusual order. In consideration of 
these things he was offered the chief command upon tlie 
border as soon as it became apparent that hostilities were 
inevitable. This he declined, but accepted an appoint- 
ment as a commissioner to conduct negotiations with the 
view of avoiding a conflict of arms. 

Before his arrival, however, a collision had occurred, 
resulting in the defeat of the Americans, who were driven 
back across the border with considerable loss. This engage- 
ment had two important consequences. It took General 
Sheridan at once to the seat of war, thereby relieving us 
from apprehension arising from his impetuous temper and 
known hostility to any movement looking toward tlie par- 
tition of the Federal territory. Though he had once pro- 
fanely declared a preference for hell rather than Texas as 
a place of residence, the General of the Army had mani- 


fested no inclination to release the national hold on Texas, 
and it was with great satisfaction that we learned that the 
President had ordered Grant's favorite lieutenant to take 
personal command of the forces on the Mexican border. 
This defeat of the filibustering force transformed the 
United States forces into an array of invaders, supported by 
the enraged and defeated irregulars. It also greatly en- 
hanced the confidence of the Mexican army with its 
virulent Mormon contingent thirsting for spoils and re- 
venge. The general in command of the Mexican army 
of observation was a soldier of no mean repute, who not only 
shared the feelings of his men but was anxious to achieve 
fame by becoming the re-conqueror of the lost provinces. 
Sheridan, Avith that contempt of the "greaser" which 
prevails at tlie West and is no doubt largely due to the 
easy victories our army won over the Mexicans under 
Santa Anna, hastily collected and mounted his forces for 
a cavalry raid into Mexico along the line of the Mexican 
Central, having El Paso as a base; the line of the Rio 
Grande on one flank while the other was protected by the 
Sierra Mad re range. It was a brilliant design but in the 
existing state of affairs liable to a counter-movement more 
complete than any known since Borodino. 

The idea of leading a host of rough-riders through an 
enemy's country once more had an irresistible charm for 
the "hero of the Shenandoah," as the boastful conqueror 
of Early's weak and war-worn battalitjus loved to hear 


himself designated. Understanding the impetuous char- 
acter of his opponent, the Mexican general devised a plan 
even bolder tlian his which promised not only the certain 
destruction of the enemy but the conquest, or at least tem- 
porary subjugation and pillage, of the richest portion of the 
Pacific slope. AVhile Sheridan was planning a sudden 
concentration of his forces and a vigoi'ous dash along the 
line of the railroad into the heart of Mexico, leaving a 
small force to guard the line of the Rio Colorado and the 
Southern Pacific and its branches, relying on the vessels 
of the navy already stationed at San Diego to protect the 
coast line, the Mexican general was preparing a guerrilla 
force to desti'oy the road in advance of the invader and 
another to hang upon liis rear and intercept his retreat; 
while he had already transferred his own troops through 
the passes of the Cordillaras and dispatched small com- 
panies of Mormons to cut the wires and burn the bridges 
on the Southern Pacific. 

These influenced religious partisans, speaking the same 
language, thoroughly familiar not only with the passes of the 
mountains but with the habits of the roving bands by which 
the country Avas infested, found little difficulty in execut- 
ing these orders. On the very day that Sheridan con- 
cluded his concentration at El Paso, he found himself shut 
off from communication with San Francisco. This he had 
probably expected. At least it did not trouble him, as he 
supposed the Northern route to tlie Pacific Avould remain 

BIG H TY-NIN^. 469 

open so that the "Western slope could be easily secured by 
the transfer of troojDS from the Eastern Departments if 
there should be any necessity for such action. He rej)orted 
the fact to his government himself, sitting beside the operator 
in the station house at the Junction from which all gov- 
ernment messages were sent. At the same time he an- 
nounced that all his preparations had been completed and 
that he would unless otherwise ordered, cut loose from his 
base and enter the enemy's country at daybreak. It was 
then nearly midnight at Washington. The impetuous 
soldier thought of this as he looked at his watch to note 
the time of his despatch and recalled how often during the 
War for Separation the wires liad been open at that hour 
between his own headquarters and those of his great 
commander for a moment's consultation. He remem- 
bered these things with a touch of sadness. The man 
at the head of the government, if it conld be said to 
have a head, was not a soldier and knew nothing of the 
value of minutes. The grizzled cavalier wondered if he 
wt)uld not better have served his country by assuming 
the reins of power and preventing the scheme for dis- 
memberment which he no doubt believed to be on foot. 
A soldier's duty is to obey, however. 

After some delay this message was received in reply 
to the one he had sent: 

•' The President pro tempore counselB the utmoBt moderation 

470 EIG H T Y- XTNE. 

and advises that you proceed with the greatest caution. The 
condition of affairs at the West and South is such that — " 

Here the message ended abruptly. The operator an- 
nounced himself cut off — and while tlie impatient cavalier 
paced 11}) and down, uttering anathemas more forceful than 
elegant, began to detach parts of his instruments. 

''What are you doing ?^' asked the general. 

" Obe\-ing ordei's, sir. I am directed to side-track all 
trains coming from either direction and disal)le the tele- 
graph instruments.'* 

'•What for?" 

"Ask me something easy, General,'' was the answer, 
withas!>rug. "It's orders; that's all 1 know." 

"Don't you do it !" 

" Very well; you are in command," said the operator, 
with a gesture of assent. He turned a thumbscrew on the 
now silei\t instrument, rose and stood befoi'C the officer. 

" Shall I side-track the train, sir ? " 

He took uj) his signal light and glanced at the clock 
as he spoke. A train would be due in a few min- 

"Well, yes," said the general, "I suppose yon had 

The operator went to his desk ; closed it mechani- 
cally, putting something in his pocket as he did so. The 
General thought it a revolver and smiled at what he deemed 
the man's needless precaution. It was in fact a pair 


of wire-nippers, "snips'' as they are called in the trade. 
He went out of the room and walked along the platform to 
the corner of the building where the wires sliunted down 
from the poles on either side. Reaching behind a loose 
board, he severed the wires just where they entered the 
office. The General might represent the country, but he 
was in the employ of the Eailroad and Telegraph Com- 
panies and bound to obey his employers' orders. 

So Sheridan with his army was cut off midway be- 
tween the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific : the silent 
wires and disabled tracks stretching away eastward and 
westward and an exultant enemy in his front. Meanwhile 
at the East the ''blind pool'" and the Order of the 
Southern Cross held undisturbed control of the situation. 
Before he could even learn the situation of affairs, much 
less interfere to prevent, the crisis was over. 

Two days before the Mormon auxiliaries of the Mexi- 
can army had been transformed into a host of frenzied 
fanatics by the reappearance of Tycho Brahe's star — the 
etar of Bethlehem as they believed — which flashed upon 
their astounded eyes at midday. Priests and elders con- 
strued the flaming star to be a presage of victory as well as 
the precursor of a new Messiah. A child born that day 
to a wife of one of the Twelve Apostles, was declared 
to be the divinely designated successor of the Prophet 
and was adopted for nurture and maintenance by the 
Mormon people as their future ruler. All were wild with 


desire to engage in the pillage of the fertile plains and 
rich cities of California. Yet still the Mexican general 
hesitated. He did not dare to move until assured that 
tSheridan had actually crossed the border, and thus com- 
mitted the government of the United States to war. 

While Sheridan waited in the telegraph office, per- 
plexed and angry, a courier came from the picket line 
which ran along his front and handed him a scrap of paper. 

" What I '■ exclaimed the General in surprise. "Fair- 
banks I Jiriug him to my quarters at once.'' 

That night Hermoso de Orilla and the American com- 
mander concluded an armistice which guaranteed the in- 
violability of the b<»nler for sixty days, pending the adjust- 
ment of all questions at issue between the governments 
of the United States and Mexico by a mixed commission 
to be appointed one by each of the belligerents, and an um- 
pire to be luimed by the Emperor of Grermany. 

"You had better stay with us, General, and let me 
send this over by a fl»g of truce," said the American officer 
to the white bearded man who stood in front of his quar- 
ters a little after sunrise the next morning. "Those fel- 
lows are treacherous and may treat you roughly, despite 
all you have done for them." 

"It is possible," said the other gravely, "but it is 
my duty. Blood is thicker than water and I could not 
fight against the old flag ; but Mexico is my country 
and I owe her allegiance and service. I feel that I 


have done my duty in concluding this armistice, and with 
your cooperation have saved both countries from needless 
slaughter. I go now to see that the convention is duly 
observed by my adopted countrymen. '^ 

The two men clasped hands gravely and earnestly. 
Hermoso de Orilla galloped away down the sundy valley 
already shimmering with the heat of the summer day. 
The American commander shook his head regretfully as he 

Twenty-four hours afterwards the rising sun shone on 
the face of a man who stood with his back against the mud 
wall of a hacienda, his arms jiinioned bf hind him. Before 
him were twelve men with rifles. Back of them was a 
battalion of infantry forming three sides of a hollow square. 
Behind these surged an angry multitude. The officer in 
command of the squad spoke three words: there was a puff 
of white smoke in the morning sunlight and Ambrose 
Fairbanks fell on his face. — shot as a traitor ! Yet the 
Mexican general observed the armistice he had concluded, 
though visiting his vengeance on him for having defeated 
his ambitious designs. It was not until all was over that I 
learned from my mother's lips that this man, who by the 
sacrifice of his own life saved thousands of his real and 
adopted countrymen, was the unknown benefactor of our 


Everything oceuiTed just as Stoningliam told me it was 
arranged. On the third day after onr interview the morn- 
ing papers announced that telegrapliic communication to 
all points west of the Mississi})pi had ceased at midnight 
and that for a considerable distance eastward the wires 
were working feebly. The companies were doing all in 
their power, it was said, to ascertain the cause of the sud- 
den interruption. An electrical storm of unprecedented 
extent ; some great internal convulsion of the earth ; the 
possibility of collision with some heavenly body, — all 
these were canvassed as possible causes by excited crowds 
who cast many glances at the sky, where Tycho Brahe's 
star flashed red and green, even at mid-day, whenever 
the sun was obscured by clouds. All westward traiiis 
were stopped at the crossings of the Mississippi. The 
eastward bound trains were filled with frightened jms- 
sengers. They had come through a desert of silence. As 
far west as the mountains at least, it was known that the 
telegraphic circuit was broken and the wires were dead. 
All trains Avere stopped except those which came through 
that day. The terrified passengers thought some great 
convulsion had taken place in the mountains. It was 
said that a volcano had burst out near Salt Lake. The\\ 



brought also rumors of serious disaster upon the Mexican 
liorder. All day and all the night following the trains 
kept rushing eastward as if fleeing from an unknown ter- 
ror; but none went westward. 

The wires still worked feebly. As Tycho Brahe's 
star dropped below the horizon all those leading to 
the northward and eastward of the city where the Com- 
mission sat, became suddenly dead. This fact became 
almost instantly known all over the city and the streets 
were soon filled with pallid crowds. The line running 
to the southward still worked, and by morning it was 
learned from a New York dispatch, received by way of 
Atlanta and Nashville, that tlie area of isolation included 
all the region west of Pennsylvania and north of the Ohio 
river. The river was now the only avenue of escape from the 
city. The Commission met early the next morning, hastily 
concluded its work and in solemn silence adjourned sine die. 
The members sadly bade each other farewell, their sub- 
dued tones belieing the words of hope they forced 
themselves to utter. Every face was clouded with 
anxiety for loved ones of whom they could hear no word, 
from whom they seemed separated by infinite space now 
that the possibility of instant communication with them 
had suddenly failed. 

Each one souught with frantic eagerness to get even 
a day's journey nearer to his home before the expected 
end of all things. No trains ran out of the city that 


day, except to and fro across tlie river to the city on 
tlie other shore. The iron track was deemed unsafe 
when tlie electric sentinel was asleep. Even the operators 
and railroad officials, who must have had a suspicion of 
the cause of all this, seemed moody and apprehensive. 
Though I had been forewarned, I found myself affected with 
a nameless terror — and an irresistible inclination to fly 
homeward as if to escape some dreadful disaster. 

The churches were crowded; the voice of prayer was 
heard from every house ; kneeling figures were a frequent 
sight upon sidewalks. Money had lost its power. Men bought 
and sold only the necessaries of life. Many gave even these 
away freely. None served and none commanded. Society 
was dissolved with terror, yet there was no crime. Fear had 
disarmed even lust and rapacity. I fled with my associates, 
and was indeed hardly less terrified than they. During that 
day, it was learned that the ocean cables had ceased work- 
ing. It was as if the earth had been cut in twain. The next 
morning all communication had been cut off north of Rich- 
mond. Even to the southward the wires worked weakl}^ and 

All remember the weeks that followed, so full of terror 
and apprehension ! Where the wires still worked they were 
used almost exclusively to convey farewells. When by-and-by 
the truth came to he known, anger succeeded dread. Threats 
were freely uttered against those who had so wantonly trifled 
with the fears of a continent. There was talk of indicting 

EIO HT T- NINE. 477 

them for the murder of some hundreds who had died from 
fright. But wiser counsels prevailed. The lesson was 
too terrible to be soon unlearned. The people were too glad 
to regain the privileges they had so long enjoyed to hold to 
severe accountability those who had taught them even by so 
sharp a lesson how inestimably precious they had become. 
The Capitalists were invited to resume the functions they 
had acquired under guarantees that rendered their privileges 
even more secure. The feudalism of wealth thus secured 
still more absolute control of the Northern Republic by the 
marvellous audacity of the head of the •■ blind pool." 

The prayer of the South was granted by the States 
of the North almost without opposition and the govern- 
ment of the United States, reduced by more than a third 
in extent and population, was re-organized with such guar- 
antees as it pleased the capitalists to offer, which the peo- 
ple found themselves compelled to accept. Just where the 
right lies between the two forces there arrayed against each 
other I do not know, but I fear the end has not yet come. 


Doubly widowed, my mother sits by my bedside wait- 
ing for the end. I think, us 1 look at her still fair face 
and mourning weeds, how, like my grandmother, she will 
dwell alone here at Ryalmont and watch the world's hap- 
penings, but without hope or fear for the fate of her son. 

The hurt of which 1 die is but a repetition of that 
which marked the turning of the current of my life. I 
have been told that there is evidence that the rocket 
which exploded beneath my horse was in reality a bomb 
thrown with murderous intent. Certain it is, however, 
that 1 was not touched by its fragments, and that ray in- 
jury resulted from the fall of the frightened and wounded 
steed. It is possible that some of the unfortunate race who 
are apprehensive of results that may affect their future un- 
favorably, may have borrowed something of the savage idea 
which abounds among certain classes of the Xorth and 
have thought to appeal to murder as a remedy for appre- 
hended ills. However this nuiy be, as no one else was 
harmed, I trust that there maybe no investigation and no 
punishment. Surely, even if it be true, I have done enough 
for my country to ask that tlie life of mine enemy may be 
spared, that the triumph of our cause may be bloodless — 


no man's life having been takeu to secure our freedom or 
in punishment of any who resisted. 

* * * * * * 

The starry cross is triumphant. The duties and respon- 
sibilities of nationality now rest upon tlie Southern peo- 
ple, untrammeled by Northern prejudice and suspicion. 
For what has occurred we may find much excuse. The world 
is charitable. Success hides what failure ouly emphasizes. 
For what is to be, the world will hold us to strict account- 
ability. Civilization is the master whom all modern na- 
tionalities must serve. The balance between national 
power and individual right must be carefully adjusted to 
our necessities and justice must be impartially administered 
to all irrespective of past relations or prejudices. Justice 
is the foundation stone on which we must build — justice to 
each, justice to all— justice to high and low, to rich and 
poor, to strong and weak, to white and black I Mercy is 
not enough I Charity and compassion are delusive words. 
Justice is the only sure foundation. This is the mistake 
the North made. They were pitiful, tender, merciful; but 
they forgot justice. So their power relaxed and the weak 
prevailed ! 


The South has its mission which must be faithfully per- 
formed or its downfall is certain. Because we are a strong 
people — the strongest the New World has produced — God 
has placed before us the mightiest problem of civilization. 

480 EIGH2 Y-XIXE. 

How shall black and white live together in peace, prosper- 
ity and content ? This is the question we have to answer. 
The master's power is broken — broken by light, progress, 
knowledge. What shall take its place ? Let my country- 
men answer truly, justly and the future of the new Nation 
is assured. Already we have thrice conquered our ancient 
enemy. The nation whose power we could not withstand, a 
quarter of a century of peace has enabled us to rule and 
conquer. Already its literature is but the story of our life. 
Our heroes arc its chief inheritance of fame. Its own, it 
accounts as it well may, us weak and pitiful beside them. 
Our great names are even yet held up to emulation; theirs 
are consigned to silence and contempt I They exult in the 
names of Lee and Jackson and the immortal galaxy that 
stand beside them on the pinnacle of fame. They apolo- 
gize for Grant and Sherman and Sheridan and all the array 
of great names and little natures whom only the accident 
of success enfaraes. The Federal soldier has long since 
become a pitiful creature worthy only to serve as an ex- 
ample of that magnanimity which gave alms to our con- 
querors when peace had restored us to our natural i)lace of 
ruler of the nation's destinies. Let us see to it that the 
moral and intellectual supremacy thus jncontestibly at- 
tested over a people strong in substance but weak in honor, 
self-respect and the inherent sense of justice, be not lost 
now that the bond that united the discordant peoples has 
been severed. We have seen what made them weak: let it 


teach us how to remain strong I Our peoi^le are not poor, 
and I thank God they are not rich. The example of our 
neighbor, once our unniated yokefellow, will serve to show 
us much that we should avoid. Let my countrymen see to 
it that so far as possible our laws, while encouraging enter- 
prise and facilitating the acquirement of competency, guard 
most carefully against the dangerous accumulation and 
combination of capital. The " blind pool," it matters not 
how good the man who wields its power, how devout his 
inclinations or sincere his convictions of right may be — is 
the most dangerous instrument of destruction that civil- 
ization has yet developed. 

There are two Republics instead of one. The plant 
of American liberty has not only blossomed but borne fruit. 
There are two nations, two peoples, two civilizations. 
Each must solve its own corollary of eternal truth. Eacli 
is charged with its peculiar phase of the problem of human 
destiny. Mutual peace rests on the tirni support of mutual 
resiDcct. We shall exchange products, ideas, influences. 
The world will be better that we are no longer one in form. 
The spirit of liberty will be stronger and more potent in 
its effects upon the civilization of the future, now that 
there are two rival republics to uphold its glory, than if 
they had remained but one. 


The confederated Republics are but the nucleus around 


which the weak of the earth will gather for protection against 
the strong until the '"balance of power " shall become a 
myth and the "rights of [)eo})les "' tangible and enforcible 
realties. Already the jjroblcui of Labor and Capital is work- 
ing out its true solution and a new civilization founded upon 
it is growing up at the North. What shall be its excellences 
and what its faults none can yet determine. Her experience 
will beoui'guidr, and our counsel will have far more weight 
with her people than when the claim of self-interest de- 
prived it of half its foi'ce. 

The days have grown to weeks, and tlie weeks to 
months, since 1 began my t'ask. Long siiu-e I was com- 
pelled to surrender to another's haiul the labor of recording 
my words. In the meantime hope has grown into assured 
certainty. The love of my people has not failed. What I 
trembled to see attempted, I rejoice to know has been 
achieved. It is not the dismemberment of a nation, but 
the birth of a new sovereignty. The future may, perhaps, 
reunite the twain ; but civilization, humanity, peace and 
prosperity demand their J3resent separation. What I under- 
took with doubt, I see concluded with gladness. I have 
finished my work ; completed my task, and leave it now to 
my countrymen, with only the injunction which the greatest 
of our Northern neighbors uttered on the field of battle 
consecrated by his sorrowful benediction, that they '* do 
the right — as God gives us to see the Right \" 

[The following monograph, in the handwriting of the Grand 
Master, seems to have been prepared just previous to the unfor- 
tunate accident that terminated his life. It is one of the few 
things that escaped the destruction of his papers which he 
ordered. It is so clear an exposition of his views upon one 
phase of the question presented by his action, that it is deemed 
proper to give it a place here. — E, H ] 

1689, 1789, 1889. 

For three centuries '* 'Eighty-Nine " has been the year 
of jubilee, the day of peaceful accom2)lishment, the hour of 
complete fruition. It would seem as if, in Anglo-Saxon 
history, liberty moved in an orbit whose period was a cen- 
tury ; as if progress came in recurrent cycles of just a 
hundred years ; as if some mystic impulse, akin to that 
which causes the bees to swarm and the stork to migrate, 
affected this race of liberty- lovers and compelled it to 
mark each century's close by some notable event of espe- 
cial significance to the human race in its never ending 
struggle for individual equality and collective right. These 
crises have grown more and more significant, and their re- 
lations to antecedent growths have become more and more 
distinct with each successive period. 

It is apparent now that each precedent century was 
but a period of incubation during which was germinated 


484 Eirrll T Y - N rxE . 

the great idea that sprang into hfe at its close. The pro- 
gress has been continuous, but the result is marked by suc- 
cessive steps, each of which rests on tlie solid basis of a 
hundred years of thought, of toil, of suffering and of blood. 
There is no conflict betvveen the great ideas thus evolved. 
Each one grows out of those that went before as natur- 
ally as the oak out of the acorn. The period of commo- 
tion, perhaps of conflict, that precedes the climax may 
seem like destruction. The weak and narrow-minded may 
bewail its fierceness and intensity. Those who worship the 
j\Ioloch that forges fetters for the present out of the dark- 
ness of the past, may mourn the downfall of existing 
institutions, the overthrow of accepted theories and the 
establishment of new dogmas. Their alarm is but the 
weakness of folly and the apprehension of ignorance. The 
convulsion that fills them with dread is but the bursting of 
the acorn-shell. The strange growth they count as nox- 
ious and malign is but a seedling of the oak possessing 
a stronger fiber and destined to develop a sturdier trunk 
and wider stretch of limb. 

At the first of these great epochs a nation declared 
itself greater than its king ; at the second a child affirmed 
its right to walk without a mother's guidance ; at the third 
a people cradled with another avowed their right to self-di- 
rection. Monarchy fought furiously for its supreme pre- 
rogative ; the mother-land rained blows and curses on the 
presumptive colonies ; the sturdier twin met the foolish 


aspiration of its weaker fellow with slaughter and subjugu- 
tion. In each case the right triumphed. The people 
degraded the king but exalted the throne ; the American 
nation became tlie ])ricle of the English people ; the new 
republic is destined to become the safety and support of 
that from which it separated. Three great revolutions 
mark three momentous epochs I Three harmonious chords 
in the great oratorio of progress have been struck at inter- 
vals of just a century! The lesson that they teach is well 
worth the world's attention. 

The struggles of the English people for self-govern- 
ment had been long and bloody. Seventeen centuries lay 
between the wicker skiffs and the wooden walls that were 
already contesting the sovereignty of the seas. The Heptar- 
chy had been dissolved by conflict and its residuum cemented 
with blood. The Eoman had been conquered and driven 
out ; the Xorman and Dane absorbed. The barons had 
curbed the power of John with a strong hand. AVat Tyler 
and his followers, thirty thousand strong, had encamped 
about the Tower of London with the ennobling demand, 
"Ye will make us free forever, our heirs and our lands." 
Jack Cade, with his rabble of starving hinds, had burst the 
barriers of fear and, clamoring for bread, for the mere 
right to live, had hurled themselves upon the mailed 


retainers of feudalism, demanding, with a pitiful instinct 
of justice, that the purchasing power of labor be increased 
in order that the poor might live. Cromwell had come out 
of the fens, had checked the pride of monarchy, baffled the 
intrigues of aristocracy and showed, not only that the peo- 
ple might rule tliemselves through independent, self-ap- 
pointed leaders, representing the popular thought, but 
might grow, conquer and prosper without scepter or 
sovereign. AVith his death had come again the Stuarts 
and absolutism. For thirty years the people of England, 
who had tasted liberty and tested self-government under 
Cromwell, yielded once more to the exactions of a foolish 
and arrogant legitimacy. When another generation had 
risen, the peoj)le of England, unworn by the anguish and 
impoverisliment of, fired with theglory of their fathers' 
achievements, full of self-confidence and emulation of a 
glorious example, rose up in the quiet majesty of con- 
scious power and drove the prince, who, though accounted 
legitimate, was in spirit a usuri)er, not merely from the 
throne but from the land. The ferment of freedom 
spread throughout the whole dominion and lifted peer and 
peasant alike to the height of self-assertion ynd the plane 
of voluntary self-government. Then for the first time the 
peoiile assembled "in convention,'' consecrating that word 
forever to the assertion of popular sovereignty and making 
such voluntary, informal assemblage lawful at all times as 
the ultimate means of expressing a nation's will and declar- 


ing the birth of a new government. Thej'^ were not yet 
ready to march without the semblance of a scepter at their 
head. From over the stormy sea, therefore, they called the 
stern and silent man who had already conquered a kingdom 
from the fiercest foemen of that time, had dared to appeal 
to the Avhelming waves as an ally against oppression, and 
had consecrated to liberty and self-government what his 
sword had won. Thus the first great Anglo-Saxon revolu- 
tion became a fact and the joy-bells echoed throughout 
England as William, stumbling, kissed her soil, and hand in 
hand with his sagacious Queen, received the plaudits of a 
liberated people. This was 1689. 

I should not need to dwell upon the luster that sur- 
rounds the second member of this divine numeric trinity 
were it not that, with a foolish desire to perpetuate the 
memory of conflict rather than the glory of achieve- 
ment, the American people have been accustomed to regard 
the day which first gave voice to the aspiration, rather than 
that which marked the final accomplishment of nationality, 
as the birth hour of our liberty. 

For two hundred and fifty years the Anglo-Saxon stock 
had been domiciled on the soil of America. The seed of 
liberty had ripened quickly in the new world. Solitude 
has ever been the nurse of power. The wilderness is 


always a hotbed of aspiration. Men who are alone with 
God come quickly to outstrip their fellows. The Old 
World pitied tlie isolation of her colonies, little dreaming 
that the distance that lay between them and the parent 
stock would prove a sure incentive to inanhood of a 
stronger growth than she had ever known. Transplanted 
to virgin soil, Puritanism hardly felt the clieck that came 
with CromwelFs death. Whether Charles or James or 
AVilliam ruled in London mattered littk' to the sturdy 
founders of an empire, who felt within themselves the im- 
pulse towards self-direction and control grooving stronger 
and stronger year by year. Already before the first Con- 
gress met, the germ of nationality had burst its shell. 
Jefferson did not originate the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence. He merely phrased a i)eople's thought. It was 
not the men who met in Philadelphia that laid the foun- 
dations of the American Republic, but the people whose 
irresistible aspirations compelled them to the course they 
adopted. Massachusetts and Carolina were linked together 
by stronger bonds of union before the Declaration was 
published — when the people of the southern colony sent 
aid and comfort to the stricken patriots of Boston — than 
have ever united them since. It was not the wisdom of 
her statesmen or tlie merit of her leaders that established 
the Republic, but the invincible determination of the peo- 
ple — an Anglo-Saxon j^eople made strong by tliat isolation 
which a thousand leagues of ocean gave, and made self- 


reliant by two centuries of conflict with barbarism and the 
wilderness. They who came looked back to England at 
first, indeed, as a mother-country. In their children's 
hearts the tie grew weak until, long enough before the con- 
flict occurred, an Anglo-American type had become estab- 
lished. Interest and aspiration had ceased to bind the 
people to the parent isle, and hope looked forward with 
confident assurance to a mighty empire beneath the setting 

It was not the war of Revolution that separated us 
from the mother country. The severance was complete 
before it began. When the Congress formulated the 
declaration that we Avere a free and independent people, 
there was no mistake of mood or tense. It was no pro- 
phetic declaration, but merely the formal assertion of an 
accomplished fact. It did not import the overthrow of any 
social system and hardly required the establishment of a 
new form of government. The people, one day the subjects 
of Great Britain, awoke the next to find themselves 
allegiants of a sovereignty asserted though not created that 
first Fourth of July. The Colonies, already for nigh a 
hundred years, had been self-supporting and in the main 
self-protecting organisms. They had conquered for Great 
Britain more territory than she had ever before possessed, 
and lield it, almost single-handed, not merely against the 
savage, but also against the Frenchman on the North and 
the Spaniard on the South. They had become not only 


controllers of tlieir own destiny, but concjuerort^ over whose 
subjugated realms waved the flag of Great Britain, a 
mocking symbol of power usurped. 

The struggle was no doubt a surprise to both the com- 
batants. The English monarchy soon learned the differ- 
ence between ravaging our coasts and conquering a people 
every man of whom felt himself the peer of a monarqh in 
the divine right to rule. When the end came, '"Eighty- 
Nine" was again gloritiod. The years of conflict and of 
doubt gave way to certainty. Again a convention of the 
people marked the birth of a new nationality. Battle and 
bloods<hed and triumph had made it possible for a free peo- 
ple to act for themselves under such forms as they might 
devise. After due deliberation they determined to estab- 
lish an inde])endent nation on tlie American continent. 
This nationality was not aii accident but a growth. " 'Sev- 
enty-Six" marked the assertion of liberty and right; 
* "Eighty-Nine," the era of crystalization and certainty. 
Then it was that the nation was really born, the republic 
organized, and an epoch of self-government inaugurated. 

Eighteen Hundred and Eighty-Xine ! What shall I 
say of it ? What can I say of it that every one who reads 
these words does not already know ? It too has been an 
era of fulfilment. The germ of a new nationality had 

EIGHTY- N I NE . 491 

ripened in the pericarp of the okl. For a hundred years 
the American Eepiiblic liad sheltered two peoples. Year 
by year they had grown more and more distinct. Each 
had crystalized about its own specific center. Alike, yet 
unlike, they had grown side by side hardly aware of the 
unseen forces that were dragging them asunder. Like 
rays of sunlight they had slowly but certainly diverged. 
The chord which a child's hand might have spanned at 
the beginning, when a century of growth had intervened, 
subteuded an arc which touched almost the antipodes of 

The government of the United States existed some- 
thing more than a hundred years, estimating its duration 
from the date of the famous Declaration of Independence. 
This was accurate enough, so far as its relations to Great 
Britain were concerned. The mother country lost a de- 
pendency, or, rather, a galaxy of dependencies on that day; 
but *' the federation of the world " can hardly be said to 
have gained a state at the same time. The national exis- 
tence really began with the adoption of a constitution in 
1789. It continued under and by virtue of that constitu- 
tion, variously changed and modified, one hundred years. 
At the end of that period, it is true, it still remained nomi- 
nally intact, but the process of separation had proceeded 
so far that dismemberment was inevitable. From that 
time on its history is only a recital of the various stages 
of disruption. As an actual, vital force in the family of 

492 EIGUTY-yiXE. 

nations, therefore, the first great Republic may be said to 
have been in existence exactly a century. 

"Why did it not exist a thousand 5'ears ? Why, indeed, 
did it perish at all ? 

Three distinct answers have been given to these ques- 
tions. One by that class of thinkers who believe mon- 
archy to be the only guaranty of stability. They, of course, 
see in the dismemberment of the Union another evidence 
of the weakness and unreliability of a republican form of 
government. According to them the democratic experi- 
ment, tried on the grandest scale and under the most faA- 
orable auspices, has proved a failure. So far as a single 
nationality is concerned, this is true. Tlie government 
of the United States undoubtedly did prove unable to 
control and harmonize — in other words to govern — the peo- 
ple inhabiting its territorial limits ; but the question of 
self-government — government by the people, in some form 
or of some type — certainly has not been decided in the 
negative. The only thing thus far determined is that the 
government of the United States, as at first organized 
and subsequently developed, was not adapted to hold in 
prosperous and harmonious relations all of its constituent 
elements. The Democratic principle still remains, some- 
what modified, it is true, in a part of the original territory, 
but not abandoned in any of it. 

This fact furnishes the basis on which the second 
answer is predicated. It is asserted by certain swift gen- 

EIGHT Y- NINE . 493 

eraliziug doctriiiaire8 that the fate of the Federal Uiiiou 
is but another instance of a fatal thirst for empire. They 
tell us that the scope of territor}' it embraced became so 
great that the nation simply fell apart from its own 
unwieldiness. There is not a shred of reasoning to sup- 
port this theory. It is useless to cite examples from 
history. The examples themselves rest merely on asser- 
tion. Xothing but bare rhetorical assumption can be 
cited in support of the generally received idea that even 
the Roman Empire grew top-heavy by conquest and per- 
ished from over-extension of its territorial limits. Every 
fact of her history proves the contrary. It is true that 
llome had no assimilative power. What she took she held 
by force. The Roman eagle mated with nothing else. 
Yet, despite this fact, it is unquestionable that the causes 
of her downfall were to be found at the very center of her 
power, within the walls of the seven-hilled city itself. If 
her territory had been no greater than that claimed by the 
wolf-suckled freebooters of the Tiber, and the same ele- 
ments of Aveakness had crept within the walls, the city 
must have fallen. It was not extent of territory but the 
decay of Roman manhood that precipitated the doom of 
Rome. The legionary had become a hireling and con- 
quered without Romanizing. The nation had ceased to be 
homogeneous in purpose and impulse. The East had half 
separated from the West. It was no longer true that all 
roads led to Rome. The seat of the empire, as one of 


its great cliieftuius declared, was iiu longer on ihe Tiber, 
but where the eagles of his legions flew. The empire itself 
had ceased to be Roman and remained only an organized 
force that might be shifted from Rome to Byzantium, from 
Massilia to the banks of the Euphrates. It was a garment 
that fitted any shoulders; Avhich one might wear to-day and 
another to-morrow ; which might be parted between two or 
stolen by Gaul or Oriental, without signifiuant change of 
character. It was so complete an organism that it took 
centuries to destroy it.s form, but its vital distinctive force 
was dead before any usurper dared to seize or rend. 

Even if the commonly accepted theory of territor- 
ial unwieldiness were established as tlie prime cause of the 
decay of other governments, it could not with any show of 
reason be applied to the government of the United States. 
Steam and electricity have not only annihilated time, 
they have also eliminated space, as an element of govern 
mental problems. Practically, government is now omni- 
present, in the very person of the ruler, in every part of 
his dominion. There was not a hamlet in the United States 
in which the President of the Republic could not address 
her citizens or instruct his officials every day without leav- 
ing his chair in the AVhite House. San Francisco was 
just as near the seat of government as Baltimore. 

Besides this, the press supplies in modern times the 
means of universal knowledge. The specific need of one 
section was as fully known to the other as it was possible 


for a mere observer to expound it. The people of Xew 
England were as well informed of the wants of California 
as of their own needs. Botii were equally well understood at 
the Executive Mansion and represented with equal ability 
in the halls of Congress. Virginia was no nearer the seat 
of government than Minnesota — in fact not half so near, 
for the result of the War for Separation had made the Capi- 
tal essentially a part of the JCorth. The apprehension of 
the fathers that the states contiguous to the Federal Capital 
might unduly influence its character, was curiously set at 
luiught by the enginery of civilization. There were fifty 
telegraph wires between Washington and New York ; a 
single one more than sufficed for the intercourse between 
the Capital and Richmond. There were morC;, it is true, 
but they only served to connect the great commercial me- 
troplis with its sources of supply. 

There was none of the ancient lack of information. 
The uttermost parts of the earth were next door neiglibors. 
Knowledge of events was practically simultaneous with 
their occurrence. Sentiments, however, were not trans- 
mittable by the Morse alphabet. The East knew the facts of 
the South and the West, and these, in like manner, had a 
general and complete knowledge of the externals of each 
other's life. What the East did not know and could not 
comprehend was what the South or West thought and felt 
in regard to the facts of their own respective lives. 

It was neither extent of territory, unfairness of repre- 


sentation, nor weakness of the republican principle that 
destroyed the unity of the great Republic, but that 
polarization of tliought and sentiment which is an in- 
herent characteristic of all English-speaking masses — that 
impulse wliicli distinguishes the Anglo-Saxon from all other 
peoples of the world — making it not merely the great col- 
onizer of the earth but the founder of distinct but harmon- 
ious empires. The very force which unities the English 
people divided the Republic. 

The third answer given to this inquiry is that dismem- 
berment was the result of party strife and factional dis- 
cord. As a reason for the known result, this is even more 
fallacious than those previously considered. That parties 
and factions were active instrumentalities no one can deny. 
In every movement under a popular form of government 
there must be leaders and followers — parties and factious. 
These are not causes, however, but the indices of the causes 
that underlie such movements. Parties are but the fruit- 
age of popular sentiment. Factions are simply attempts 
to control parties. Political leaders may create factions, 
but they never can secure control of a party in a republic 
except by going in the direction the party desires. In a 
democracy the real leaders are only forerunners who point 
out the way to the goal the multitude are seeking. In 
the present case there was no factional or partisan interest 
involved m the fact of separation. Those who took the in- 
itiative not onlv liad control of the government but the 


apparent power to retain a predominant influence therein 
for a generation. The only question with them was 
whether they could peacefully and prosperously maintain 
that local supremacy which they deemed essential to the 
domestic peace and security of the section they more im- 
mecliately represented, and still remain an integral part of 
the original republic. Very wisely, I think, they decided 
that they could not. So the steps they took, instead of 
being in derogation of constitutional government and an 
evidence of the weakness of the republican idea, are really 
conclusive proof of its strength and a guaranty of its per- 

If there be any cause outside of the inherent tendency 
of the English people to governmental polarization, which 
may be said to have been especially instrumental in pro- 
ducing the result which is so A^ariously regarded by differ- 
ent minds. I should say it was the universality of the 
belief on the part of the people of the most highly devel- 
oped (and, in one sense, the controlling) section, that 
such a result was an impossibility. This curious over- 
confidence was chiefly the result of a hundred years of con- 
stant reiteration, and was strengthened by the peculiar 
immunity of the first century of the national existence 
from serious internal discord ; remarkable success in 
two defensive wars ; the golden glamour of one war of 
conquest and aggression ; and the suppression of an armed 
rebellion of unusual pi-oportions. The continuous recital of 

498 J^i o ir T Y. xiJVJS. 

these facts had removed all apprehension of such a contin- 
gency, and induced a confidence in the iiational organism 
which not only prevented the adoption of measures intended 
to secure its perpetuity, but induced men to regard with 
ridicule and contempt all hints of its terminable character. 
Their blindness hid ail indications of a tendency to sub- 
division. Men regarded the Federal Union as destined 
to be perpetual sim])ly because it was American, without 
effort, care, or regard for inherent forces tending to dis- 
ruption. With nations as with men, the over-confidence 
which leads to neglect of wise precaution, is the most dan- 
gerous of all conditions, lie was a wise man, tliough un- 
known, who wrote in that necropolis of genius, the columns 
of a newspaper, the Avords : "England owes her glory to 
the constant apprehension of invasion." 

The United States feared no peril — least of all dis- 
memberment — and so neglected causes that a child might 
have seen not only led in that direction, but, if unchecked, 
must eventually produce that result. 


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